When Kathleen Beckmann retired as orchestral director at Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park, she decided to look for a new project. A member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, she realized that she felt Dutchess County had room for another professional orchestra. That turned into the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra, which she founded in 2006. The orchestra is now beginning its ninth season, devoted entirely to American music.
For the opening concert on Oct. 26, Beckmann selected her concert master, Marka Young, as soloist. In high school, Young had studied violin with Camilla Wicks, largely forgotten now but a legend among record collectors for her early LP recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Wicks introduced the 18-year-old Young to Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. “I’ve loved it all my life and I never get tired of it,” Young says. “It’s so romantic but in a new language. It’s great to share the spotlight with the soloists in the orchestra, but it’s hard work for them. The piece needs a really great trumpet player who can triple-tongue.”
Young is assistant concertmaster of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and teaches at Vassar. She also plays the early baroque-configuration violin in two New York ensembles. “I’m a very local person,” she says. “As the mom of a 10-year-old I can’t go traveling the world right now.” But she plays as many local concerts as she can, including a chamber music “Sunday Salon” at Unison Learning Center in New Paltz this coming February.
The program also features “Wood Notes” by William Grant Still, the first widely-recognized African-American composer of concert music, and the “Romantic” Symphony of Howard Hanson, the long-time director of the Eastman School of Music.
The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra series opener, Sunday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m., Rhinebeck High School Auditorium, 45 North Park Road, Rhinebeck; 845-635-0877, www.ndsorchestra.org.