Orchestra’s debut a hit, next performance coming soon By Colin Anderson | Photo By Owen Aird
It was less than six months ago, this past October, when acclaimed international conductor Jan Pellant teamed up with local professional musician Marcy Hogan to begin recruiting musicians for a new orchestra in Sandpoint. “There are a lot of great professional musicians in our region that are hungry to play,” said Marcy. “The distance between our communities can make it tough, but we really feel we can bring them all together.”
In short order, they not only recruited top local talent but were able to bring in artists from all over the U.S. as well as Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Brazil for the opening performance of the North Idaho Philharmonia (NIPH). “The inaugural performance in December was a great success, with sold-out seating and standing ovations after the final piece,” stated Jan. “The music program, which included internationally acclaimed compositions by Corelli, Bach, Respighi and Bartok, was very well received by the audience, made up of all ages.”
Jan has traveled the world to work with some of the top professional musicians. He’s led more than 30 orchestras in his native Czech Republic, Germany, Thailand, Japan, and many stops throughout the United States. He was most recently the artistic director of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony before forming the newest ensemble in Sandpoint. The majority of NIPH musicians have years of experience, performing in professional orchestras and small ensembles at music festivals, in major concert halls, for opera and ballet performances, and studio recordings in Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago, Boston, and other major cities around the world. Despite traveling the world and playing to large crowds, many were eager to jump on board with Jan’s vision. “The musicians who participated in the inaugural concert welcomed the opportunity to perform such a musically gratifying program in a celebrated historical venue,” he said.
Jan’s goal for the NIPH is to create a unique orchestral sound that is significantly different from any other in the world. NIPH is aiming to provide world-class performances in the greater Sandpoint area, with the focus on orchestral masterworks by great composers from all over the world. The goal of the North Idaho Philharmonia is to contribute high-level classical music to the panhandle while, at the same time, bring music and artists from around the world here. Jan is equally excited to bring in younger aspiring musicians so they can learn and be coached by some of the very best. “The Philharmonia also provides artistic opportunities to young musicians, giving them the chance to perform alongside professional musicians on a concert stage,” he shared.
Jan will also act as the guest conductor for the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint’s Summer Academy orchestra camp. The camp takes place over two weeks and will include instruction for both advanced and beginning students. Both orchestras will play together in the mornings, giving the students the opportunity to practice their skills and teamwork. Advanced students will work with the beginning students, building mentorship skills while having lots of fun! Jan will combine both orchestras in the second week with a performance at the end of camp that will be open to the community.
Things have come together quickly for NIPH. The response not just from the musicians but from the greater Sandpoint community has been incredibly positive. Jan envisions four to six shows per season that will feature a variety of classical works from all centuries. He also wants to include small chamber performances and even operas to the future schedule. NIPH, in collaboration with the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, is building a highly professional orchestra where musicians are paid for rehearsals and performance(s) with hopes of cementing the NIPH in the community for years to come.
The next performance, titled “Between Earth and Heaven,” will take place on March 25 at the Panida Theater. The program will begin at 7pm with a pre-concert talk and the musical performance will begin at 7:30pm. The concert program includes compositions by great Western European classical composers—W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No 5., Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, featuring renowned guest performers Matthew Goodrich and Melody Puller on piano, and Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak’s Czech Suite in D major. Concertgoers can expect transcendental moments at the performance as the concert title implies. There will be unique, powerful orchestral sounds imitating the voices of all types of animals; sounds of beautiful traditional folk tunes of the Czech Republic, a country that has very similar landscapes to North Idaho; and sounds of Mozart, a genius of the classical music period, with his early orchestral work.
NIPH welcomes music enthusiasts and supporters, volunteers, and high-level artists. For more information, please contact the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, or Marcy Hogan and Jan Pellant, directly, at SandpointConservatory.org/northidahophil.