The San Juan Symphony Begins its Season with “Bolero!”


San Juan Symphony opened their 37th season with a program devoted to French composers. Big and bold, it was the symphony’s largest assemblage in years, featuring Lili Boulanger, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Arthur Honegger, and the concert’s center piece: Maurice Ravel’s Bolermo! By Donna K. Hewett.

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The San Juan Symphony opened its 37th season with a spine-tingling program called "Bolero! French Impressions." Music Director Thomas Heuser wanted to make a big broadcast straight off the gate with five French composers from the Impressionist era, the late 1880s from the streets of Paris. You're watching "The Local News Network," brought to you by Distil Beer, Wine, Spirits and Ace Hardware of Farmington. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

And this program is a real showcase of the members of the orchestra here. You know, there is no concert soloists tonight and the musicians of the orchestra are really the stars of the show, as well as the composers on this beautiful program of French music.

The concert began with a little-known, early 20th-century composer, Lily Boulanger's "On a Spring Morning," written just before the young musician's death in 1917. Eric Satie and Claude Debussy followed with intricate compositions central and evocative of the Impressionist era. These originators wanted us to hear the voice of the individual musicians themselves with beautiful solos and unusual instruments to present a Parisian dream-like atmosphere. The centerpiece of the concert was a performance of Maurice Revel's "Bolero!" written in 1928.

We're going to have 70 musicians on stage tonight. Everything from a contrabassoon, to a soprano saxophone. It's just an amazing performance. The music starts slow and then it builds, and it just keeps adding instruments. And by time the performance is over, the hall is just full of pulse and energy. It's amazing.

Thomas Heuser gathered the symphony's largest assemblage in years to play French music that we don't normally hear played live. Each piece in the program required a large orchestra and lots of special effects to pull off. As a conductor, Heuser is a virtuoso himself, and very much appreciated by his audience.

Well, I'm really impressed with Maestro. He's so passionate about what he does for a living, and that makes the music even more exciting, and real, and user friendly.

Next month, Heuser will present "The Majesty of Mozart." For ticket information, go to And thank you for watching this edition of "The Local News Network." I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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