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News and notes from the world of classical music.

Jackson Symphony opens season with a cellist homecoming

JSO photo
Jamie Paisley
The JSO season opens on Saturday.

The Jackson Symphony Orchestra kicks off their concert season this weekend with a concert titled “Joy and Sorrow.” We speak with Maestro Stephen Osmond as well as the Jackson-native cellist that he’s bringing back to town.

It’s homecoming week here at MSU and East Lansing will be welcoming plenty of alumni back into town. One person, however, is less concerned about first string quarterbacks than she is about the four strings she will have in front of her on Saturday night.

Current State's Jamie Paisley talks with Hannah Holman, cellist with the New York City Ballet as well as Principal cellist with the Quad Cities Orchestra in Iowa. She’ll be in town with Maestro Stephen Osmond for Saturday’s season-opening concert of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.


On Holman’s return to Michigan 


I transferred to Michigan State and I was pre-med for a year in the Lyman-Briggs College there. Music won. I couldn’t deal with my physics classes anymore and I just wanted to practice all the time. So I got my undergrad and finished at Michigan State. I think that’s really where I started studying Dvorak and Carmen with a fellow professor at the time. Then I went to Boston and did my masters at New England Conservatory of Music I studied it again there then got some different insights from a different teacher. 

Do you have any sort of attachment to any of the three movements in the Dvorak: Cello Concerto?

Hannah Holman: I have to say for me, I kind of feel the heart of the piece in the second movement. Especially in the kind of cadenza the moment in the middle of the second movement.  You know it takes us on such a journey from majestic to big to very personal then all the way back and forth again. 

When you have an audience, and your program forum is very dedicated, how do you go about that in crafting just in one concert?

Stephen Osmond: Well, that’s a good question. I think a conductor has his primary creative outlet isn’t necessarily composing, performing as a soloist, but it is programming. It used to be a lot harder here than it is now. I had to pick pieces that the orchestra could play 38 years ago. We did a lot of Haydn, a lot of Mozart and Beethoven and now we can do virtually anything. We played “The Rite of Spring” it’s been a while, Mahler symphonies. 

But back to your question, the capability of the orchestra (is) not so much a problem anymore. But to engage the audience, to keep them well paced, having them be inspired, music has a such a power over people to really effect them emotionally as well as intellectually, but mostly emotionally. I try on each concert to take them from one of those emotions to another to another… they don’t all appreciate sonata form. Sometimes they want to maybe take a little nap. It’s basically just to give them a spark within them something they’re going to remember. Not necessarily hum on the way home, but will tap into themselves and find the accord, if you will, that will resonate with them.

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