The Nashua Chamber Orchestra will wrap up its 2011-2012 season with a themed concert that covers a lot of international ground — four countries, to be exact.
The orchestra will present “International Flavours” under the guidance of music director David Feltner on Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, at Nashua Community College and Milford Town Hall, respectively.
The concert will feature a solo by pianist Laura Kennedy, of Milford, who will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Opus 21 as well as Beethoven’s Gratulations Menuet in E-flat Major, Warlock’s Capriol Suite and Dvorak’s Czech Suite performed by the full 45-person orchestra. As noted by Feltner, who joined the orchestra in 2005, the program represents music from Poland, Germany, England and the Czech Republic.
Feltner calls Laura Kennedy a “wonderful local pianist” and the piece she will play “beautiful and very romantic.” The Beethoven piece is short and humorous, and Czech Suite and Capriol Suite are colorful, movement-inspired, dance-y pieces, he said.
“The program is very intuitive,” said Feltner, who also serves as conductor and music director for the Chamber Orchestra of Boston. “It just came about that way. … Each piece was suggested to me by someone associated with our group.” One of the group’s trumpet players tracked down the lesser-known Beethoven piece after hearing it on the radio. Kennedy suggested the Chopin concerto. Violists requested Dvorak, and other members called for Warlock.
Feltner says that the orchestra’s season itself was varied and international in nature. A fall concert program focused on music with German connections, built around Shuman’s Piano Concerto, which was performed by pianist George Lopez. This past February featured a French masters program, with a young violinist from Boston.
“There is so much amazing young talent in New England,” said Feltner, a classically trained pianist who has been conducting for 15 years. “It’s really astounding. We like to, when we can, feature up-and-coming performers.”
The orchestra has also been working its way through the Austrian Haydn’s 104 symphonies, Feltner says. The group has 94 more symphonies to go, which Feltner likens to training for the Boston Marathon. “It’s fun to have a goal to work towards,” he said. Even more, the orchestra has a gala benefit concert and a conditioning workshop coming up in June. Needless to say, the group members have been busy.
And so has Kennedy, who has been playing piano since age 4. Days after playing with the orchestra, Kennedy will leave for Ottawa for a festival, where she will play one recital with violinist Brian Lewis, with whom she tours regularly, and one with a cellist. Following that trip, Kennedy will perform with Lewis again in Japan.
She also started a series of concerts at Milford Town Hall, which she says she looks forward to working on when she gets back to the U.S.
“For next season, I have quite a few things planned,” said Kennedy, who is married to a musician-chemist and whose daughter is a cellist living in New York. “That [series] is like my baby.”
She says that she’s appreciative and excited to be collaborating with Nashua Chamber Orchestra. She is a musician well-practiced in collaborative projects.
“Most of the work I have been doing my whole life has been in collaboration with other musicians,” Kennedy said. “My brother [Joseph Scheer] is a violinist, and I grew up playing every single concerto for him and his friends. … In fact, I even have a sweatshirt that says, ‘Plays well with others,’” she added, laughing.
The Chopin concerto will be different for her, she says. It’s a larger-scale chamber work than what she usually performs, and it allows the piano to be more present.
The orchestra’s June 2 performance will be held at the new Judd Gregg Hall Auditorium, a space that Nashua Community College donates to the group for rehearsals and concerts. The orchestra was the first group to perform in the venue this past fall, Feltner said.''