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Classical Music with a Santa Fe Twist

By Allison Wilson

Santa Fe is a true cultural center for music, thanks in large part to The Santa Fe Symphony's full-sized professional orchestra and volunteer chorus. From its popular season opener, "Showcase of the Stars" to its annual Home for the Holidays dinner and performance, The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus presents quality classical music with a community focus.

As a New Mexican institution, not only does seven-eighths of the operating budget go back into state residents and businesses, but The Symphony itself is comprised solely of New Mexico resident musicians.

"To this we add a European operating model in which the members of our orchestra, represented by The Symphony's Musician Steering Committee, hold artistic control over The Symphony's artistic decisions and are represented at every level of the Board and committee structures," says Kathryn Nun, Public Relations & Box Office Manager. "We also have mentoring and outreach programs, led by our award-winning Music Education Committee, to extend the shared experience of orchestral music throughout the Santa Fe community and beyond."

This year's season opener featured two remarkable soloists: pianist Olga Kern, who is one of the great pianists of her generation and the first woman in over 30 years to receive the Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition Winner Itamar Zorman. The programming, which included Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Saint-Saëns, plus these fabulous guest artists, led to a rousing sold-out show to kick off The Symphony's 32nd season.

Also sold out was the 2015 "Home for the Holidays' performance, as the excitement and success surrounding the event attracted the interest of numerous residents in Santa Fe and their friends. It offered a holiday buffet complemented by select wines, an exciting live paddle auction, a featured performance by Music Mentoring students, a fine wine raffle and a gift certificate "mystery bag" - all in support of The Santa Fe Symphony's award-winning Music Education programs and concerts in Santa Fe's public schools.

The Symphony also hosts a spring gala near the end of performing season in May.

"This year our annual spring gala takes flight to Italy on April 30, 2016, for 'La Dolce Vita,' again taking place at the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa," Nun says. "We will offer a multi-course gourmet Italian dinner, specially prepared to accompany an extraordinary tasting of renowned Italian wines, followed by a high end live auction, again hosted by Paul Margetson."

In addition to the annual events and performing season, The Symphony strives to bring music into the community with free performances throughout the year. Often these performances feature chamber groups or The Symphony Chorus. The Music Education Committee works with students and seniors year-round, providing mentoring to young musicians and on-the-spot "Senior Serenades" for residents of local senior centers or retirement communities who may be unable to attend our regular season performances.

"We provide annual Discovery Concerts to area fourth graders at The Lensic, with bi-lingual narration, and Kids' Classical Concerts at area elementary schools," Nun says.

For tickets to performances, please contact the box office at 505-983-1414. The Symphony's ticket office is located at 551 West Cordova, Suite D, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including the lunch hour, Monday through Friday.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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