Sage City Symphony

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sage City Symphony is a community orchestra based in Bennington, Vermont, United States, that tackles ambitious works from the traditional repertoire as well as commissioning new works.[1] It was formed in 1972 by its first musical director, noted composer Louis Calabro, who was on the faculty of Bennington College. Sage City Symphony maintains its relationship with the college, relying on the campus for rehearsal and performance space.

The Symphony attracts amateur as well as professional musicians without the requirement of auditions, drawn from Vermont, Massachusetts and New York states. It presents four concerts a year, starting rehearsals in September for a performance featuring a major orchestral work in November. The Symphony restarts rehearsals after the New Year for three concerts presented February through May: a Chamber Concert, Youth Concert and a final Spring concert featuring a significant orchestral work.

The Symphony is led by music director and conductor Michael Finckel. It is governed/supported by a working volunteer Board [2] which appoints a Manager and a Librarian. Like the players, board members come from surrounding areas of Vermont, Massachusetts and New York states. The Board contains a mix of orchestral players and longtime supporters from the business and academic community.

Performance information[edit]

Performance dates and programs are announced on Sage City Symphony's web site.[3] In addition they are reported in area media outlets.

These media outlets have included: Bennington Banner in Bennington, Vermont, North Adams Transcript[4] in North Adams, Massachusetts, the Tri-State Pennysaver News[5] in Bennington, Vermont, Eastwick Press[6] in eastern Rensselaer County of New York, the Vermont News Guide,[7][8] Vermont Public Radio (VPR), WAMC in Albany, New York, WMHT-FM in Schenectady, New York, and Catamount Access TV in Bennington, Vermont.

Performances are recorded by Catamount Access TV (CAT-TV) and aired subsequently.[9] Most performances for the last several years have been recorded by Joel Patterson [10] of Mountaintop Studios and rendered onto CD or made available for file sharing.[11]


The Symphony is a not for profit 501(c)(3), registered in the State of Vermont, and relies entirely on donations and grants. Grant sources have included the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fund for North Bennington, the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation. The Symphony enjoys steady support from individuals, local Foundations and business donors.[12] The Symphony also solicits sponsors for concerts, which have included a range of enterprises such as the Bank of Bennington, the Vermont Country Store, Stewart's Shops and more.


The Symphony is currently directed by Michael Finckel. Michael Finckel started his studies with his parents, cellist George Finckel and pianist Marianne ("Willie") Finckel. George Finckel [13][14] and Willie Finckel [15] were on faculty at Bennington College. Michael Finckel attended Oberlin College Conservatory and Bennington College where he studied composition, conducting and orchestration with Louis Calabro and Henry Brant.

He has taught cello and composition at Bennington and Marymount Colleges and at Princeton and Cornell Universities. As a member of the faculty of the Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts [16] in the 1990s he taught composition to gifted junior and high school students throughout Vermont. Michael Finckel has an active career as a soloist and chamber musician, composer, teacher and conductor based in New York City, performing with orchestral and chamber ensembles [17] across the country and in Europe. He has a strong background in contemporary music,[18] as well as the traditional repertoire.[19] He has regularly collaborated with New York's leading new music ensembles and performed [20] under the direction of Leonard Bernstein and Pierre Boulez.

Michael Finckel performs and coaches each year at the Composer's Conference sponsored by the Chamber Music Center [21] of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and at the Chamber Music Conference and Composer's Forum of the East [22] at Bennington College.

Community connections[edit]

Sage City Symphony has long had an annual Youth Concert[6] featuring young soloists[23] or performances with local youth groups. Past performances have included works with the Symphony and the Bennington Children's Chorus and the Green Mountain Youth Orchestra.[24] This tradition goes back to the Symphony's founder, Louis Calabro, with works such as Child's Play for children's chorus and piano composed in 1990 and performed by the Symphony again in 2009.

The Symphony started a Young Composers Project in 2009.[6][18][25] The Symphony pays a stipend to a mentor[6] to help young people prepare works for orchestral performance, alternating each year between reaching out to area high school or college age students. The high schools from which students have been drawn for this project include the Hoosac School[6] in Hoosick Falls, New York, the Mount Anthony Union High School (Miles Yucht, Alive [8])[26] in Bennington, the Long Trail School in Dorset, Vermont, Pittsfield High School[6] in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and the Mount Greylock Regional High School[4] in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The college students have been primarily drawn from Bennington College.[6]

One of the compositions by a high school student, Wind Blows,[27] was placed on YouTube by its composer. One of the high school composers from the 2009 project, Patrick Madden, received the Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship.[4]

A recording of The Tinkerer,[28] a piece from Sage City Symphony's March 2014 Youth Concert, has been made available on by its composer, Zack Weishaus, along with an animated score.

Major works performed[edit]

Sage City Symphony has performed major works from the traditional repertoire including the following.

Commissioned works[edit]

Sage City Symphony commissions a new work each year. These have included the following. Some of these composers including Zeke Hecker. Bruce Hobson, and Dennis Báthory-Kitsz have been founders and members of the Consortium of Vermont Composers, founded in 1988 [29][30] and recognized in a Proclamation by Governor Shumlin making 2011 the Year of the Composer.[31]

  • Commissioned work XLIV in eight movements by Roland Gori [32] performed Sunday May 17, 2015
  • Commissioned work Kora Saba: For Djembe and Chamber Orchestra, by Michael Wimberly,[33] performed Sunday November 16, 2014
  • Commissioned work Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, by Allen Shawn, premiered 1999 and performed again in May 2013, soloist Maxine Neuman
  • Commissioned work Table of Toys and Numbers, by Nick Brooke [34]
  • Commissioned work by John Eagle [35]
  • Three for Orchestra and Hyperpiano by Randall Neal, premiere November 14, 2010 [36]
  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by Robert Singley premiere May 3, 2009
  • Work for orchestra and percussion by Derrik Jordan, premiere spring 2008 [37]
  • Mountain Paths by Bruce Hobson,[38] premiere May 28, 2000
  • Commissioned work "Softening Cries" by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz premiere June 6, 1992 under the direction of T. L. Read
  • Work by Susan Hurley, 1988–1990[39]
  • The Birthmark by Zeke Hecker premiere 1989
  • Blood Memory: A Long Quiet After the Call [40][41] by Tina Davidson premiered June 1, 1986
  • Symphony for Orchestra with Piano Obbligato by T.L. Read, premiere 1986 [42]
  • Missa Brevis for SATB chorus, strings (piano reduction for rehearsal), opus 72 (1983), by Louis Calabro written for the Bennington College Chorus Recorded 1984: Sage City Symphony
  • Tundra by Michael Finckel[17][18][19][20][21][22]
  • Sonnet for Baritone and Orchestra, Text: John Keats, baritone Wayne Dalton, by Vivian Fine. Conducted by Louis Calabro. Premiere December 5, 1976.[43]
  • Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra by Marta Ptaszynska, work listed as premiered by Sage City Symphony under Louis Calabro on October 10, 1974

Chamber works performed in 2009-2010[edit]


  1. ^ Bouchard, Linda. "Cite of commission by L Doberman for Sage City Symphony". Sheet music order, orchestra, code DO 128. Doberman Editions. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Sage City Symphony Board members and governance". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  3. ^ "Performances, Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Foley, Meghan (June 12, 2010). "Madden Awarded Pearl Scholarship" (PDF). North Adams Transcript. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Sage City Presents a Spring Voyage". Tri-State Pennysaver News. May 15, 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Local Student Composer In Sage City Symphony's Annual Youth Concert". Eastwick Press. March 20, 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Sage City Symphony Presents a Birthday Celebration Concert". Vermont News Guide. November 14, 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Winter Chamber Concert Presented by Sage City Symphony Orchestra". Vermont News Guide. February 13, 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Sage City Symphony 5/2011". On May 27, 2011 at 12:30pm, air time of May 15 performance. Catamount Access TV. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  10. ^ Patterson, Joel. "Sonatina Faculty Bio's". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  11. ^ Patterson, Joel. "MP3 Clip of La Mer". Tindeck. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Sage City Symphony funding". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  13. ^ "Work dedicated to George Finckel, Program notes" by composer Vivian Fine
  14. ^ Vercoe, Elizabeth. "Two interviews with Vivian Fine, mention of George Finckel". From the International League of Women Composers Journal, June, 1992, pp. 18-23, used with permission. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  15. ^ Tony Gualtieri. "Listing of Marianne Finckel player". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  16. ^ "Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  17. ^ a b "Michael Finckel Bio". Bio M Finckel re listing on CD The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine and Other Chamber Works by A. J. Kernis. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  18. ^ a b c Finckel, Michael. "Wintergreen Performing Arts, Faculty Bio Mike Finckel". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Trio of the Americas performance announcement". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  20. ^ a b Finckel, Michael. "Mannes College, The New School for Music, Faculty Bio M Finckel". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  21. ^ a b Finckel, Michael. "Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Faculty, ViolincelloFaculty". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  22. ^ a b Finckel, Michael. "Chamber Music Conference of the East, Faculty, Michael Finckel". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  23. ^ Miles Yucht's performance was rescheduled from the Youth Concert
  24. ^ "Sager Bio, concertmistress of Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  25. ^ "Sage City Symphony presents youth concert this Sunday". Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  26. ^ "Mount Anthony Union High School, About". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  27. ^ "Wind Blows". 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  28. ^ "The Tinkerer". 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  29. ^ Bathory-Kitsz, Dennis (2 March 2011). "Article on Composers Consortium, mention Hecker and Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  30. ^ Consortium, Vermont Composers. "Vermont Composers Consortium, List of members updated July 1997". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  31. ^ Shumlin, Gov Peter. "Year of the Composer". Governor's Proclamation. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  32. ^ Gori, Rolando. "Gori Web Site".
  33. ^ Wimberly, Michael. "Wimberly info on faculty site".
  34. ^ Brooke, Nick. "Table of Toys and Numbers, bio and works". Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  35. ^ Eagle, John. "Spoken Word, bio and works". Spoken Word. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  36. ^ "YouTube performance of Three for Orchestra and Hyperpiano", composed by R Neal
  37. ^ Jordan, Derrik. "Cite of commission for Sage City Symphony in Bio". Composition for orchestra and percussion. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  38. ^ Hobson, Bruce. "Cite of Sage City Symphony in Bio". Liner Notes for Piano Trios and Other Works. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  39. ^ Hurley, Susan. "Cite of work for Sage City Symphony in bio". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  40. ^ Davidson, Tina. "Cite of commission by Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  41. ^ "Review of Blood Memory by Welcomat". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  42. ^ Read, Thomas L. "Symphony for Orchestra with Piano Obbligato". American Composers Edition. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  43. ^ Cody, Judith (2002). Vivian Fine: A Bio-Bibliography. Amazon: Greenwood Press, Westport CT. p. 229. ISBN 0-313-25474-5.
  44. ^ Eagle, John. "Cite of commission for Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  45. ^ Eagle, John. "Cite of commission for Sage City Symphony, entry on Jan 23 2011 upcoming perforamcn". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  46. ^ "Faculty listing, Kaori Washiyama". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  47. ^ "Cite in Kerry Ryer-Parke bio as performing with Sage City Symphony". Retrieved 4 October 2011.