Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

April 14, 2011

John Yankee, Stephen Simon, and Joseph Marchio

Stephen Simon, director and conductor of the 40-piece Simon Sinfonietta, has brought so much fine music to Falmouth, much of it rarely played elsewhere. His enjoyment of music and the exploration and sharing of music is clear on his face as he conducts, and when he talks about the music, the solo instruments (both the standard pianists and violinsts and the more unusual choices: a bassoonist, a saxophonist, a string bass), and the interesting background on  the composers and and their compositions.

As a reviewer of the Simon Sinfonietta concerts since the very first one in 2004, I have has a chance to watch the sinfonietta grow and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Its musicians play in other orchestras, including the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, and others in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but there is a special feeling when they come together in the intimate setting of Falmouth Academy’s gym/auditorium, where you can see and hear every instrument and every musician, up close and personal.

In somewhat of a departure from these intimate concerts, Simon is presenting a grand performance of Ludwig von Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Tuesday, May 10, at 8 PM, at the Parish of Christ the King in Mashpee. To do justice to Beethoven’s monumental work, considered one of the greatest musical compositions of all time, Simon is not only expanding the sinfonietta, but is bringing in both the Falmouth Chorale, under the direction of John Yankee, and the Chatham Chorale, under the direction of Joseph Marchio–over 160 singers–for the much-loved finale, “Ode to Joy.”

It is the first time the three musical organizations have joined forces, and it promises to be an outstanding event, considering the talents of the participating conductors and their organizations, and the grandeur of the work itself. For more information, visit or call Falmouth Academy at 508-457-9696.

I talked to the three conductors about the event and video-taped their comments for FCTV, Channel 13 in Falmouth. Bonnie Ward Simon serves as host for their discussion:

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