Glacier Symphony: New name, new season

R. Carlos Nakai and Peter Kater open the season Sept. 17 with flute and piano

New & Notable

Glacier Symphony launches its 35th concert season this week with a new look, a 35th Gala celebration and a concert that focuses on the power of healing through world music.

This past April the symphony board approved a streamlined name for the organization, opting to shorten it to just Glacier Symphony to indicate the parent company and referencing the orchestra or chorale in specific performances. A new logo helps the brand become easily recognizable.

Kicking off the season is a special concert on Sunday, Sept. 17 featuring the R. Carlos Nakai – Peter Kater duo, performing on Native American cedar flute and piano. The Grammy-nominated duo will perform music from their album Ritual Music along with new improvisations.

In addition to the Sunday performance, the Nakai-Kater duo will perform, along with several symphony ensembles, for a special gala event on Saturday, Sept. 16. The private concert will be held in the spectacular setting of Dancing Spirit Ranch in Whitefish from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Call the GS Box Office, 406-407-7000 for tickets and details.

Masterworks Season opens Oct. 14-15

Glacier Symphony Orchestra
Glacier Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks series begins in October.

The 35th Masterworks season opens Oct. 14-15 with the monumental Beethoven 9 (Symphony No. 9 in D minor Choral). Considered by some to be the composer’s “hymn to humanity” Beethoven’s final and greatest symphony continues to be performed nearly 200 years after its composition. The final “Ode to Joy” chorus has become a universal anthem of peace and brotherhood. The performance will feature the orchestra and chorale with four voice soloists.

The symphony offers an extraordinary concert featuring Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Titan, Nov. 18-19. Mahler became one of the most influential composers of the 20th century and this symphony was startling and foretelling of his great works to follow.

Guest artists for this concert are the young string quartet called Invokecurrently in residence at the University of Texas in Austin. Invoke blends classical with more edgy pops-oriented pieces. They also sing!

In addition to a mini solo set, they join the orchestra in the Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra by 20th-century composer Benjamin Lees, an exciting work with a strong rhythmic profile.

Peter and The Wolf – Holiday Pops concerts on Dec. 9 and 10 feature the orchestra in the timeless work by Sergei Prokofiev as interpreted by Noble Dance, which will bring the story to life with narrative dance. This festive family holiday concert also features a number of Christmas favorites including The Polar Express, Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson and more. A special additional treat will be the young harpist Brittany Barnes (of Whitefish), who will be the soloist for Handel’s Harp Concerto.

Glacier Chorale brings Messiah to three towns

Messiah Sing on Dec. 15, 16 and 17 brings the Glacier Chorale to the communities of Bigfork, Whitefish and Kalispell. The Chorale, accompanied by an organist, presents most of the choruses from Handel’s most famous work, and invites the audience to sing along!

“Messiah Sing will be an exciting and interactive experience for our musicians and our audience,” explains Glacier Chorale Conductor, Micah Hunt. “Bring your scores, sing along with your favorite choruses, and maybe even challenge yourself to sing along with something new! If you need to take a break and listen, that’s fine too!” The concerts will be held in area churches in each city.

A Young Artist Showcase on Jan. 20 and 21 highlights two outstanding young soloists, pianist Tanner Jorden from Billings and trumpet virtuoso Natalie Dungey from Seattle. Featured works are the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. Adding to the excitement, the orchestra will perform movie music from “Lord of the Rings” and “Batman.”

“This will be a great concert for all ages and will highlight young musicians on the rise,” says artistic director and conductor John Zoltek.

Schubert 9 and The Egyptian on Feb. 17-18 bring the orchestra front and center in two evocative works. Pianist Stephen Beus is soloist in the evocative Piano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, a lyrical work with middle-eastern influence by French composer Camille Saint-Saens. Franz Schubert’s final Symphony No. 9 in C, titled “The Great,” is considered one of the great Austrian Romantic symphonies.

Season wrap: Easter Festival & Jazz Night

Wrapping up the Masterworks season is second annual Easter Festival, offering three concerts over four days. The finale is a grand performance of Haydn’s sacred oratorio, The Creation, featuring orchestra, chorale and three voice soloists.

The festival also includes music by Bach, Mozart and Bruch, featuring principle cellist Griffin Browne as soloist and a free concert performed by the visiting voice soloists.

Jazz Night with the Maestro on May 11 features Maestro Zoltek as jazz composer, guitarist and arranger for an end-of-season show featuring a jazz combo with string section. Table seating and refreshments will be available.

Subscriber packages for 3, 5 and 7 are available and offer priority seating, free ticket exchanges and discounts on additional single tickets. Call the Glacier Symphony Box Office, 406-407-7000 for complete details. Single tickets are available to purchase online at