By GARY DEMUTH
For his inaugural season as the new music director and conductor of the Salina Symphony, Yaniv Segal has cooked up what he believes will be a well-balanced musical buffet.
Segal, a Michigan resident who was selected from five finalists for the position after a worldwide search that took nearly two years, compares each concert in a symphonic season to a “fine meal.”
“Some meals you’re going to taste something new, and some meals will be something you’ve tasted before,” he said. “The goal is to be diverse, properly balanced and make sure there’s something for everyone.”
Since being informed of his selection in early May, Segal has faced the challenge of putting together a diverse and balanced season in just two months, one that not only would provide “something for everyone,” but would serve as an introduction to Segal’s vision for the Salina Symphony’s future.
“I think I’ve achieved that for this first season,” he said. “We have a canon of masterworks, lesser-known works by newer composers and crossover adventures.”
The opening concert of the Salina Symphony’s 2022-23 season, entitled “Rise Up,” will be performed at Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. at the Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts, 151 S. Santa Fe.
The concert, a mixture of classic and contemporary music, will open with Patrick Harlin’s majestic “Earthrise” – based on the iconic photograph taken from NASA’s Apollo 8 spacecraft – followed by “Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47” by Jean Sibelius, featuring violinist and Kansas City native Maria Ioudenitch.
“The opening piece by Patrick Harlin is very fresh, just having its world premiere a few months ago,” Segal said.
The concert will conclude with a performance of one of the most iconic symphonies of all time, Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C minor.”
The other five concerts in the season, all to be performed at the Stiefel Theatre, are:
· “Romance” (Nov. 6, 4 p.m.): a concert of romantic music that will feature Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” overture, Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” fantasy overture, contemporary composer Gabriel Prokofiev’s suite from his genre-defying crossover album “Breaking Screens,” and an original composition by Segal himself, “Woodbridge, Summer of 2010,” which he wrote for his wedding and recently orchestrated.
“It’s very personal to me,” Segal said. “I always intended for it to be orchestrated, so during the pandemic, I finally had the time to turn it into an orchestral piece.”
· “The Nutcracker” (Dec. 10, 7 p.m., Dec. 11 4 p.m.): Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet tells the story of a young girl’s Christmas Eve dream set to one of the most beautiful scores ever written. Performed in partnership with Ballet Salina.
Adrienne Allen, executive director of the Salina Symphony, said the ballet will be performed every few years during the holiday season.
“We are thrilled to present ‘The Nutcracker’ with Ballet Salina this year,” she said. “The Christmas Festival will be back next season.”
· “Journey” (Jan. 29, 4 p.m.): features Grazyna Bacewicz’s “Symphony No. 3,” written by a Polish composer who wrote under the terror of Soviet rule. This will be followed by a multimedia presentation of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.” Produced in partnership with Theatre Salina, “Ellis Island” celebrates the powerful and inspiring stories of people who left their homelands in search of a better life.
Segal said actual texts from European immigrants who came through Ellis Island during the last century will be read aloud by local actors, accompanied by music performed before historical images projected on a screen.
“It’s a fabulous composition, so moving, even more so when it’s done live with visuals and a big range of characters,” Segal said.
“Ellis Island” is particularly personal to Segal, the son of Polish and Israeli immigrants and the first generation of his family to be born in the U.S.
· “All You Need is Love” (March 5, 4 p.m.): a pops concert featuring musical favorites from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Les Misérables” and “Star Wars,” as well as classics by Bizet, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. The concert concludes with an orchestral tribute to The Beatles, “Love is All You Need.” Special guest will be mezzo-soprano Samantha Rose Williams.
· “Passion” (May 7, 4 p.m.): a celebration of powerful female voices that includes Jennifer Higdon’s “Cold Mountain Suite,” Jules Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais,” Georges Bizet’s immortal “Carmen, Suite No. 1” and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's “Scheherazade, Op. 35.”
Allen said Segal has planned a “wonderfully diverse season” that will inspire both musicians and audience members, and she looks forward to what he has in store for future seasons.
“We have so much to look forward to under Yaniv’s artistic leadership,” she said. “He brings a fresh new perspective, as well as a vision for potential new projects and partnerships, as we move into the next era of the Salina Symphony.”
Thrilled to be selected
Segal said he was thrilled to be selected as the new music director and conductor of the Salina Symphony.
When Segal was picked as one of the five finalists and came to Salina to conduct his audition concert in January, he said he not only was impressed with the performance skills of the Symphony musicians but also at the organization’s dedication to enhancing the cultural life of their community.
“There’s real community involvement here, and that’s exciting to me,” he said. “I’m thrilled to join the Salina Symphony family as music director and to present beautiful, moving and inspiring music for the greater Salina community.”
Segal said he already is thinking ahead to the next season and beyond.
“There’s a lot of pieces I want to share, as well as guest performers and composers I want to bring to town,” he said.
Tickets for the 2022-2023 Salina Symphony season are available for $150 and $195 and may be ordered by phone at 785-823-8309 or in person at the Salina Symphony office on the second floor of the Stiefel Theatre. Single tickets will go on sale Sept. 6.
Additionally, Salina Youth Symphony concerts will be Nov. 13 and April 16 at the Stiefel Theatre; Symphony at Sunset, the annual musical salute to D-Day, will be June 3 at the Eisenhower Presidential Library campus in Abilene; and this season’s Salina Symphony Gala will be Feb. 18 at the Salina Country Club.
For more information, call the Symphony Office at 785-823-8309 or visit www.salinasymphony.org.