The Great Falls Symphony continues their 60th Anniversary Season with Passionate Passages, featuring Mary Papoulis on violin. This concert will take you on a musical journey through Bohemia, Spain, and an idyllic, pastoral scene in the countryside.
We’ll journey to Spain with the Symphonie espagnole. It was written for Pablo de Sarasate, a virtuoso violinist from that country, by Edouard Lalo, a little-known French composer until this work’s overnight success. Sarasate was known for his unique, masterful and colorful playing and many composers dedicated works to him. Lalo’s piece best reflected the violinist’s personality and his native land and is undeniably Lalo’s most well-known work. We welcome our own accomplished violinist, Mary Papoulis, to ignite the concert hall with the Spanish Symphony’s pyrotechnics, high-wire solo material, melodic invention, and rhythmic flair. The second movement has the same dance rhythm as Carmen’s famous aria and soaring violin lines over pizzicato strings and harp, like guitars in the night.
“I first sunk my teeth into Symphonie espagnole when I was sixteen,” says Papoulis. “Its gorgeous melodies, flamenco rhythms, and playful, fiery spirit speak to my heart. Sharing my passion for this magnificent work with our Great Falls Symphony audience is an incredible honor and joy.”
In summer 2016 Mary Papoulis was a violinist with the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in Italy, and Big Sky Classical music Festival in Montana. In 2015 she performed as guest violinist with Solero Flamenco in the Houston Spanish and Flamenco Festival. Other Summer activities have included the Amadeus Festival and Big Sky Alive contemporary music Festival. Mary joined the Great Falls Symphony’s Cascade Quartet and the String Orchestra of the Rockies in 1990. Her musical performances have taken her as far as China, Italy, Norway, and Cambridge, England. In addition to her private studio, she has taught at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington, the Summer Youth Orchestra Workshop in Bozeman, and workshops with the Ying Quartet.
Papoulis adds, “I am so excited to give back to my audience of almost thirty years of devotion as a member of the Cascade Quartet and concertmaster with the Great Falls Symphony Association. The Lalo feels like a perfect close to almost three decades of work. It has always felt like a piece that fits so well with my Mediterranean heritage and passion. I cherish this opportunity to share another side of my creative expression and individuality with an audience that has become family to me. I am so grateful to Music Director Emeritus Gordon Johnson for his support over the years and for featuring me on the Mendelssohn concerto before I became a working mom. I am also grateful to our new conductor, Grant Harville, to allow me the opportunity to represent the orchestra in its 60th Anniversary season. I am proud to have been an integral part of it for basically half of that time. I continue to be amazed at the growth that I am sure will sustain it for another 60 years. I look forward to continuing to be a part of that vision as teacher and performer.”
Papoulis holds a DMA from SUNY Stony Brook, MM from Eastman and BM from Indiana University. She has studied baroque violin with Stanley Riche, as well as numerous baroque performance workshops. Her jazz violin studies have included work with the Turtle Island String Quartet. Mary has been a soloist with the Great Falls and Butte symphonies, as well as a Long Island Pops Concerto Competition winner. She can be heard on recordings with the Cascade Quartet, and the String Orchestra of the Rockies. In her spare time, she plays folk, blues, and gypsy music with guitarist Rich Matoon, and alto saxophone in the UGF Jazz Band. She is also a certified instructor of Nia Technique, a sensory-based movement practice that leads to health, wellness and fitness.
The second half of the concert features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, or “Pastoral” Symphony. Ludwig van Beethoven loved the natural world, and was inspired by his regular walks in the countryside around Vienna. “How happy I am to be able to walk among the shrubs, the trees, the woods, the grass and the rocks! For the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs.” This inspiration became his Symphony No. 6. Also known as the Pastoral Symphony, it consists of five movements following, in loose imagery–a trip to the countryside, sitting by a brook, bird calls, peasant dances, and a storm. It is the calmest and most meditative of Beethoven’s symphonies, despite the thunderclaps and fierce gales of the final movement which give way to “Feelings of joy and gratitude after the Storm.”
Single admission tickets for Saturday’s concert are available at the Civic Center Mansfield Box Office at 2 Park Drive South, Great Falls, by phone at 406.455.8514 (open Monday-Friday 11:00 am to 4:30 pm), or online 24-hours at www.gfsymphony.org. Single tickets are $31-$37 for adults, $5 for students 20 and under, if purchased in advance or $10 at the door. On the day of the concert, the box office in the theater lobby will open at 6:00 pm for ticket sales. For more information, contact the Great Falls Symphony at 406.453.4102 or at www.gfsymphony.org/passionate-passages
Mary Papoulis | Photo by Scott Photography