The PVS performs orchestral and choral music locally and through musical education, introduces young children to live orchestral music.
74 Years and Counting — Live Symphonic Music in the Valley
Since 1939 the Symphony has provided stunning performances of orchestral and choral music for local communities. The PVS' mission to the Pioneer Valley region of Western Massachusetts is served in three ways: By performing symphonic and choral music; by providing members of the community the opportunity to participate in making music; and through musical education, particularly by introducing young children to live orchestral music.
Each year the symphony and chorus attract nearly 200 musicians who range in age from high school students through septuagenarians – residents of the Pioneer Valley from southern Vermont to northern Connecticut. These volunteer players and singers rehearse weekly from Labor Day through May to produce an annual series of live concerts for local audiences in Franklin and Hampshire counties.
Paul Phillips, during his nineteen years as Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony, has expertly guided both orchestra and chorus. Under his baton the quality of the orchestra's performances has steadily improved, and many musicians have joined our ranks. Jonathan Harvey, beginning his third season, has shaped the Chorus into a flexible and cohesive instrument, able to tackle difficult repertoire.
Maestro Phillips has championed the programming of new works, often by local composers. The Symphony has gained national recognition for its imaginative programming, twice earning the prestigious ASCAP award for our performances of contemporary music. We have participated in two country-wide projects — rehearsing and recording works by four promising young composers (EarShot) and presenting the Massachusetts premiere of a newly commissioned piece by Joseph Schwantner that was performed in all fifty states (Ford Made in America).
Our annual educational programming is eagerly anticipated by school children throughout Franklin County, as expressed last year by one music teacher: "Throughout the years, we have LOVED your concerts, and we continue to appreciate your thoughtful approach in finding ways to connect youngsters to symphonic music, LIVE music, and to create something great and meaningful!"
Collaboration has been a major part of our programming over the years — whether with Greenfield's excellent High School Chorus, the Amherst Ballet, or with Valley choral groups. Last season's choral grand finale was triumphal — three hundred players and singers filled the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center stage to perform works by Haydn and William Walton. Under Paul Phillips' direction, performers were electrified by Walton's rousing Belshazzar's Feast. Off-stage brass bands, the combined choruses of the PVS and Hampshire Choral Society, renowned baritone David Kravitz, and an 83-piece orchestra thrilled the huge audience, which leapt to its feet with a standing ovation as the final chord sounded.
Come to the movies with us this year, and be surprised at both the variety and the quality of symphonic and choral music that has been associated with films. Join us for a journey starting back in The Silent Years of the early film industry that continues through to the twenty-first century! We know you'll enjoy it!