Symphony launches season of pride

ALBANY -- "Water Works," the season opening concert of the Albany Symphony Orchestra should be a fluid one.

After all, the 7:30 p.m. performance at the Albany Municipal Auditorium, 200 N. Jackson St., will feature an instrument new to the Albany concert scene -- water percussion instruments. Performing them will be guest musician Thomas Sherwood, principal percussionist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Music Director Claire Fox Hillard said the unique sounds of the water drums mixed with the traditional symphony instruments will be augmented by the visual elements of the water percussion instruments being under lighted while they are played, which will result in reflections of flowing colors filling the concert hall.

The symphony season is titled "The Pride of Our Community ..." with each concert focusing on a cultural or educational asset of metro Albany and Southwest Georgia. This first one emphasized the Flint RiverQuarium and water, a tremendous resource to the Southwest Georgia region known for its abundant aquifers.

Sherwood will be featured when the symphony performs "Water Concerto" by Tan Dun, a Chinese composer who may best be known for his Oscar-winning score for the 2001 film "Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon."

The concert also will include performances of Handel's "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor" and Czech composer Bedrich Smetana's "The Moldau," a tribute to the river known by that name to German-speaking Czechs such as Smetana.

Hillard said that in recognition of the concert's date, the symphony will open with Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." The haunting composition has become associated with 9/11, he noted.

The concert will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. with Conversations with the Conductor, also in the auditorium.

Tickets for this performance are: Dress Circle -- adult, $40; senior and military, $35; First Balcony and Orchestra seatings -- adult, $37; seniors and military, $32. Student tickets for the Orchestra level are $10 each.

Season tickets are: Dress Circle -- adult, $177; senior and military, $157; student, $42; First Balcony and Orchestra -- adult, $152; senior and military, $132; student, $37. For an additional $50 per season, ticketholders can also join the Conductor's Circle. Members can get refreshments and drinks at intermission and after the concert at the Carnegie Library next door to the auditorium, as well as meet Hillard and guest performers at the post-concert gathering.

For information on individual concert tickets, contact the symphony office at (229) 430-8933 or www.albanysymphony.org.