Published: 12:00 AM, Thu March, 7 2019
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will greatly expand its number of performances for the 2019-20 season and move the classical concerts to the smaller Ford Family Recital Hall.
Next season will include four classical concerts and three pops, while the current season – which comes to a close this weekend – only offered two classical and three pops shows.
The expanded schedule not only reverses a trend that has seen the YSO reduce its concerts, but it will mark the first time the orchestra will schedule a full slate of performances in the Ford.
At 600 seats, the Ford is much smaller than the 2,300-capacity Powers. The theaters are adjacent to each other in the DeYor Performing Arts Center, 260 W. Federal St., downtown.
The Ford opened in 2006.
Patricia Syak, president of the Youngstown Symphony Society, which owns and operates the DeYor and the YSO, said she views the move to Ford for classical concerts as the right fit.
Pops concerts vastly outdraw classical shows, and lead to empty seats. But the YSO will not only fill the Ford, but will allow for “rush ticketing,” in which last-minute seat openings can be sold moments before the concert to those who didn’t purchase a ticket in advance.
The modern Ford hall has 300 seats on both the main floor and the balcony, and all seats are no more than eight rows from the front.
The theater also boasts fine acoustics.
The classical concerts will be dubbed the inaugural Platinum Classical Series, and will be dedicated to the musical masters. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Its schedule is as follows:
Sept. 28: Karl Stamitz Viola Concert in D Major with YSO principal violist Michael Isaac Strauss. The program will also include the Rossini Silken Staircase and Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.
Oct. 19: The six Brandenburg Concerti, featuring string, woodwind and brass players.
Nov. 23: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, featuring guest pianist Di Wu.
March 21: Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, also known as the Scottish Symphony; Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony No. 94; and Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances.
The Pops series is as follows:
Dec. 7: A Country Christmas, featuring Nashville artists Rachel Potter and Patrick Thomas.
Feb. 15: “Now That’s Italian” with “Rocktopia” stars Alyson Cambridge and James Valenti, featuring pop, Broadway and grand opera favorites from Puccini to Sinatra.
April 25: The John Williams Tribute, featuring music by the composer from the scores of the films “Superman,” “E.T.,” “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and “Indiana Jones,” and accompanied by visual images from the films.
The YSO’s annual Stained Glass Series concerts will also increase in number, going from three this season to seven in 2019-20.
In the series, a reduced-size orchestra plays the same program at various houses of worship around the Mahoning Valley on Sunday afternoons. Admission to the concerts are free.
The series, which was started in the 2012-13 season, is an outreach program that grows the YSO’s audience.
At first, it was difficult to line up locations but that is no longer the case.
The series has become so popular, said Syak, that churches, synagogues and other organizations are contacting the Symphony Society in hopes of becoming a location.
The 2019-20 Stained Glass Series concerts are as follows:
Sept. 29: St. Elizabeth Hospital-Youngstown Finnegan Room.
Oct. 20: Petersburg Presbyterian Church.
Nov. 24: Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.
Dec. 8: Niles First United Methodist church.
Feb. 16: St. Matthias Church of Youngstown.
March 22: St. Christine Church of Youngstown.
April 26: First Presbyterian Church of Columbiana.
In addition to the regular-season concerts, Valley residents will get two more chances to see the orchestra after the current season ends.
The first will be July 27 at the Butler Institute of American Art North building on Wick Avenue. The program, part of the Butler’s 100th anniversary celebration, will feature Gregory Prechel’s “Impressions at the Butler Institute of American Art,” which the YSO commissioned and first performed in 2009.
Then on Oct. 30, the orchestra will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the premiere performance of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” at St. Patrick Church on Oak Hill Avenue in Youngstown.
The two shows are not part of the season subscription plan.
Subscriptions for the 2019-20 season go on sale in April; single-show tickets go on sale in July. For information, call the DeYor box office at 330-744-0264 or go to youngstownsymphony.com.