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Jan Pellant closes first season with Coeur d’Alene Symphony with ‘Sounds of Magic’

May 2, 2019

A little under a year ago, Jan Pellant was announced as the new conductor and artistic director of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony.

Pellant, a native of the Czech Republic, will close his first season with the symphony with “Sounds of Magic,” Friday and Saturday at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Pellant approached his first year with the symphony with two big goals.

First, he wanted to plan concerts that highlighted the skill levels of the musicians while also pushing them with each performance.

“There are a lot of orchestras who would say ‘Yes, yes, yes. We would like to go somewhere. We would like achieve more and more things,’ but the other thing is if the orchestra is really willing to do it,” he said. “Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra has amazing musicians and they are really ready to still be moving and moving forward.”

Second, Pellant wanted to get to know both the musicians and the Coeur d’Alene community and give them a chance to learn about him.

He chatted with musicians over coffee and lunch and gave presentations to schools in Coeur d’Alene, Moscow and Sandpoint.

And when he met people who weren’t aware of the symphony, Pellant was happy to clue them in.

The final concert in Pellant’s inaugural season with the symphony, “Sounds of Magic,” features performances of Paul Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Alexander Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto and Ottorino Resphigi’s Pines of Rome.

Pellant approached the finale with the goal of both creating a majestic, energetic atmosphere and welcoming between 70 and 80 musicians to the stage.

“It’s titled ‘Sounds of Magic,’ which means that one could hear a lot of interesting, unusual sounds on the stage,” he said. “All of the instruments would be creating sounds that are not often heard and by having all these instruments combined together, it’s possible that we can experience another transcendental moment.”

Pellant called Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” a contrastful piece that featured feelings of happiness and sadness and moments of peace and aggression.

Many may know the piece from the movie “Fantasia,” but Pellant said the orchestra is going to play the piece at a quicker tempo.

“It will be very much showcase moment for all of our amazing musicians in the orchestra so it’s possible that audience will be surprised,” he said. “They might have not heard this piece played in this way before but my mission and our mission of all the association is to go for unique sounds, unique interpretations.”

The second piece, Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto, features guest saxophonist Sheila McCallum.

Pellant said the piece, dramatic but easy to listen to, features numerous sections from various centuries, each with a different atmosphere, put together into one concerto.

The concert will close with Resphigi’s “Pines of Rome,” which Pellant called one of the most well-orchestrated pieces ever.

Because it features every section of the orchestra, Pellant said it sounds like there are 1,000 musicians on stage.

“I don’t think there can be anyone who cannot find anything interesting on this piece, so colorful, so musically expanded, so much expressing feelings of our daily life,” he said. “If someone is coming to the concert in not such a great mood, he or she will definitely find a way how to enjoy it. If there is someone who will have happy time, happy day, he or she will enjoy it. Any kind of mood, this piece is for everyone.”

Looking ahead to next season, Pellant is excited for the challenging pieces the symphony has planned (the season should be announced in a few weeks) as well as the opportunity to work with local composers.

He is also hoping to bring soloists from the U.S. and overseas to Coeur d’Alene and to expand the symphony’s outreach concerts.

“This is the biggest challenge because there are approximately 1,500 orchestras in United States and one can hardly find orchestra that has a unique not only sound but unique approach for making music,” he said. “Coeur d’Alene Symphony is definitely one of them, and I would make sure it is going to continue in that way.”

On June 22, the symphony will host its Blazing Fiddles Fundraiser, featuring live music, food and a silent auction, at Rockin’ B Ranch in Liberty Lake.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at www.cdasymphony.org, info@cdasymphony.org or (208) 765-3833.