Symphonic Variations: An immersive journey

Missoula Symphony Orchestra offers musical adventure Nov. 3 and 5

On Stage

Indulge in a captivating evening of music Nov. 3 and 5 at the UM Dennison Theatre when the Missoula Symphony Orchestra presents Symphonic Variations, described as “a musical journey unlike any other.” Guest artist is Icelandic-American cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdóttir.

During these two weekend concerts, the Missoula Symphony challenges the audience to ignore any preconceptions about classical music and enjoy a unique, immersive experience that promises to evoke a rollercoaster of emotions.

The journey begins with Edward Elgar’s masterpiece, the Enigma Variations, op. 36. But there’s a hidden, cryptic theme that adds a layer of intrigue and speculation to this renowned composition, as each variation is dedicated to someone special in Elgar’s life. Join the symphony as it attempts to unravel the mysteries behind these dedicated variations.

The orchestra also explores Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33. This masterpiece effortlessly blends the elegance of the 18th-century Rococo era with the expressive intensity of the Romantic period. Adding a fresh and energetic voice to this journey is the sensational Icelandic-American cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdóttir. Known for her profound emotional depth, the cellist lauded as “charismatic” by The New York Times weaves an effervescent narrative,

Margaret Bonds, a 20th-century composer, challenges the boundaries of music by fusing classical, folk, and African-American influences. Her composition, The Montgomery Variations (1964), tells a story of resilience and triumph, drawing inspiration from the civil rights anthem “Oh, Freedom” and the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott. These are stories that transcend time and speak to the heart.

This isn’t just music; Symphonic Variations is a journey through history, culture, and a range of emotion; an evening that promises to touch souls. As a special treat, the Missoula Youth Symphony will play side-by-side with the Missoula Symphony. This collaboration has a significant educational impact on the students, nurturing their musical growth and development and charts the course for the future of the Missoula Symphony.

Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana. Visit for more information.