Missoula Symphony cues three concerts

MSO introduces conductor finalist Paul McShee, and hosts Sleepover at the Museum

On Stage

Paul McShee, known for the blend of warmth, energy and driving rhythmic vitality he evokes from orchestras he conducts, commands the baton Feb. 1-2 for the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s third concert in its “Pass the Baton” season.

McShee joins Chorale Director Dean Peterson in Mozart’s emotionally stirring Requiem in D minor, featuring Lisa Williamson, soprano; Kimberly Gratland James, mezzo soprano; David Cody, tenor; and Charles Robert Stephens, baritone. The program concludes with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, known as the Reformation Symphony.

After his first full rehearsal with the orchestra Jan. 27, he wrote: “They are playing Mendelssohn’s Fifth with incredible energy, and Mozart’s Requiem with precision and beautiful style!”

The concert continues the organization’s quest to fill the role of popular music director Darko Butorac, with each concert of the 2019-20 season conducted by one of five finalists for the position.

McShee has been described as a “movingly expressive conductor” known for developing “rich sounds, and driving energy” from orchestras he works with. As a passionate educator and advocate for both classical and new music, he has created numerous programs intended to encourage young people to open up to classical music.

He has performed in a variety of settings from an early age as a flutist, singer, as well as conductor. Although his focus is on orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has conducted numerous choirs and wind ensembles in addition to orchestras across Europe and the United States. He served as a cover conductor for Minnesota Opera, music director of the Buffalo Community Orchestra, and director of campus orchestras at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, he has guest conducted the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, the Mihail Jora Philharmonic, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, and the Orchestre Bande-Son.

As a conductor, he is at home both on the orchestral stage and in the opera pit, and recently directed a sold-out run of Le Nozze di Figaro with the Edinburgh PopUp Opera.

Described by the Baltimore Sun as a conductor who draws “subtle nuances from any score,” McShee is currently a visiting assistant professor and director of orchestras at Binghamton University. He holds a doctorate in conducting from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and a MM from the University of Connecticut.

The Masterworks concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, at the UM Dennison Theatre; tickets are $15-$50.

Family Concert: Sleepover at the Museum

The Missoula Symphony collaborates with the Montana Natural History Center in its annual family concert, Sleepover at the Museum.
The Missoula Symphony collaborates with the Montana Natural History Center in its annual family concert, Sleepover at the Museum.

Also on February, guest conductor Luis Millán leads the Missoula Symphony Orchestra in “Sleepover at the Museum,” 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the UM Dennison Theatre.

The MSO is collaborating with the Montana Natural History Center in this fun-filled concert that features kid-friendly exhibits of dinosaurs, gemstones, insects and more.

“We have a long-standing tradition of introducing classical music in a fun – and often hilarious – way,” says executive director Jo May Salonen, “and this year will be no exception.”

The annual Family Concert is only one hour long and suitable for all ages. “It’s the perfect way to show kids, parents and other caregivers just how much fun classical music can be,” adds Salonen.

Guest Conductor Millán serves as Director of Orchestras at the University of Montana, where he directs the classical guitar studio and teaches music theory. He also serves as music director and conductor of the Butte Symphony, Montana Lyric Opera and as orchestral director at the Red Lodge Music Festival.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 7, and tickets are $8 for all ages.