3 big concerts: Milestone symphony anniversary, George Winston plays, help for Ukraine

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Happy anniversary, Cape Symphony! It’s a big weekend for music as the Cape Symphony marks the 60th anniversary of its first performance with a nostalgic concert in Hyannis, featuring a local top pianist as a guest star.

In South Yarmouth, internationally acclaimed pianist George Winston will return to the Cultural Center of Cape Cod for three concerts just a few months before he will release his 16th album.

And in Provincetown, a local pianist, John Thomas, will play a fundraising concert to help Ukrainians and refugees that will be both live and available streaming, with donations helping two charitable organizations offering direct aid.

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, will be a guest performer with Cape Symphony to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, will be a guest performer with Cape Symphony to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Cape Symphony celebrates 60 years of music

Cape Symphony will reimagine a program from April 1962 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the orchestra’s first performance. Artistic director/conductor Jung-Ho Pak will direct “Happy Anniversary, Cape Symphony!” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center, 744 W. Main St., Hyannis.

To help celebrate, pianist Jon Nakamatsu will return to play with the Symphony for the first time since 2015 as he, too, celebrates a major anniversary: 25 years since he won a Gold Medal victory at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Nakamatsu, co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, will perform music associated with Van Cliburn: Tchaikovsky’s iconic Piano Concerto No. 1.

“Many things have changed since 1962, but one thing hasn’t: Cape Cod still needs its own orchestra,” said symphony executive director Michael Albaugh in announcing the concerts. “The Cape Symphony brought beautiful music to people of all ages then and continues to do so today – bigger and better than ever!”

Soprano Abigail Rethwisch will perform for two concerts this weekend with Cape Symphony.
Soprano Abigail Rethwisch will perform for two concerts this weekend with Cape Symphony.

The anniversary program includes a wide variety of music from the original concert, including Mozart’s Impresario Overture, "Fantasia on 'Greensleeves,'" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Espana Rhapsody by French composer Emmanuel Chabrier, based on his travels through Spain. Two pieces for soprano will feature Abigail Rethwisch: “Una Voce Poco Fa (A voice a little while ago)” by Gioachino Rossini from “The Barber of Seville,” and “Depuis le Jour (Since the Day)” from Louise by Gustave Charpentier.

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Tickets and information: capesymphony.org, 508-362-1111, tickets@capesymphony.org.

COVID-19 protocols: masks and proof of vaccination are required. If children are not fully vaccinated, they must have a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered by a third party (not an at-home kit). All Symphony staff and musicians have provided proof of vaccination, and will wear masks at the concert (except wind players).

Pianist George Winston will perform three concerts at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.
Pianist George Winston will perform three concerts at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.

George Winston returns to cultural center

After selling out three solo performances in 2019 at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, internationally known pianist George Winston will return there for three more shows this weekend in his only Cape appearance this year.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Monday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the center, 307 Old Main St., South Yarmouth.

Winston has released 15 solo piano albums over his 50-year career — including “Restless Wind,” described as a portrayal of his place in a chaotic world — and is due to release a new “Night” album on May 6.

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“Night” is described in press information as “a vivid look into Winston's nocturnal world where life begins as the sun sets on each day.” In the works for two decades, “Night,” features four original Winston compositions, as well as renditions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Allen Toussaint's "Freedom For The Stallion." The album is described as turning “darkness into a prism of beauty.”

George Winston's "Night" album will be released May 6.
George Winston's "Night" album will be released May 6.

RCA Records released “Beverly,” the first single from the album, last month, and the second single, "Hana (A Flower For Your Heart)," on March 29.

"’Night’ is a collection of songs that I've recorded at five different studios," says George Winston in press information. "There is a natural wonder that only occurs in the evening and ‘Night’ basically scales the clock from midnight to 7 a.m. With every dark hour that passes, daytime will soon occur. The sun shines down on the earth all day, it warms the oceans and the forests, and awakens the majority of earth's inhabitants, and at sundown the nocturnal animals wake up for nighttime activities, and there are feelings of solitude and uncertainty. This all translates well for inspiration for compositions and interpretations of other composers' pieces."

Winston's classic albums include “Autumn” and “December,” with other work including “Winter into Spring,” “Summer,” “Forest,” “Plains,” “Spring Carousel — A Cancer Research Benefit,” two volumes of the compositions of Vince Guaraldi, two volumes of benefit albums for the Gulf Coast disasters, and four other solo piano albums.

Tickets: $50, $40 for members; www.cultural-center.org or 508-394-7100. To preorder “Night”: https://GeorgeWinston.lnk.to/Night. Information: georgewinston.com.

Provincetown musician John Thomas will play a piano concert April 3 to raise money to help people in Ukraine.
Provincetown musician John Thomas will play a piano concert April 3 to raise money to help people in Ukraine.

‘Music for Ukraine’ in Provincetown

Pianist John Thomas will perform a concert of “meditative and inspiring” music to raise funds to help Ukrainians inside and outside of their home country. The show will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown at 236 Commercial St.

The concert will include Ukrainian folk melodies, compositions by Ukrainians, and other music that Thomas says is “intended to provide a sonic environment for reflection and action.”

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All donations collected at the concert will directly benefit the Ukrainian people, he says. Half of the donations will be sent to the International Rescue Committee, and half will be sent to Oastea Domnului Chisinau, a church in Moldova that is directly involved in housing, feeding and helping refugees crossing the southwestern border of Ukraine.

Social distancing and indoor masking rules will be in effect.

The concert will be live-streamed on the YouTube “Great Music on Sundays @ 5” channel and will remain available for several days thereafter. Links for donations will be listed under the viewing screen. More information: 508-487-9344.

Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at kdriscoll@capecodonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Concerts: Cape Symphony anniversary, George Winston, help for Ukraine