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Bucks County Symphony Orchestra concert to celebrate 70th anniversary of inaugural performance


The Bucks County Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Central Bucks High School South in Warrington.

The special evening of great music celebrates the 70th anniversary of the BCSO’s inaugural concert in 1954.

The concert is sponsored by the Warren Family Foundation in memory of Tamara Warren, a cellist in the BCSO for 18 years.

Maestro José Luis Domínguez and the BCSO open the program with the overture to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ incidental music for “The Wasps,” composed for a production of Aristophanes’ eponymous play performed at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1909. Vaughan Williams was one of Great Britain’s most influential composers of the 20th century, whose work was frequently imbued with the sound and spirit of English folk songs.

Violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn joins the orchestra in a performance of Johannes Brahms’ intricate “Violin Concerto in D,” which was premiered on New Year’s Day in 1879 by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by the composer and featuring violinist Joseph Joachim.

A native of Bucks County, Pitcairn has earned a stunning reputation as one of America’s most beloved soloists. She has appeared with numerous prestigious orchestras at the Academy of Music and Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

She performs with one of the world’s most legendary instruments, the “Red Mendelssohn” Stradivarius of 1720, said to have inspired the Academy Award–winning film “The Red Violin.” Passionate about youth and education, she serves as president and artistic director of the Luzerne Music Center, which provides training for gifted young musicians in upstate New York.

The BCSO completes the festive evening with Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony,” arguably the most famous orchestral work in the classical repertoire. First performed in Vienna in 1808, the Fifth has become one of the cornerstones of symphonic music. Deriving its distinctive power from a persistent rhythmic drive, the symphony moves from a sense of tragedy to one of ultimate triumph, a worthy exemplar of the emerging Romantic Era.

The BCSO performed its first concert at Central Bucks High School (now C.B. West) in Doylestown on March 27, 1954, under the direction of its first music director, Vernon Hammond of Sellersville. The orchestra had been organized in the fall of 1953 by two small groups of local amateur musicians who joined forces with a vision of forming a symphony orchestra for Doylestown and the surrounding community. By the time of its inaugural concert, the ensemble boasted 60 members and drew an enthusiastic audience of over 800 music lovers to its premiere performance.

Tickets for the spring concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and free for students. Patrons are encouraged to reserve tickets online at to guarantee admission. Visit the website for information.

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