Heights Chamber Orchestra opens its 35th Season with free concert

These Heights Chamber Orchestra performers are all residents of Cleveland Heights. Front row, from left: Luane Lasky, Nina Sobel, Donna Lalewicz, Caitlin Kelly. Back row, from left: Maryanne Pendergast, Susan Blackwell, Agnes Lina, Dana Stapleton, Music Director Domenico Boyagian, Nancy Cooke, Ellen Rothchild, Lisa Cheshier and Tren Cheshier. [photo by Sue Schieman]

The Heights Chamber Orchestra celebrates the opening of its 35th season on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 3:30 p.m., at the First Baptist Church on Fairmount Blvd. in Shaker Heights. At this concert, the orchestra will announce and introduce its new music director, Domenico Boyagian.

The Heights Chamber Orchestra was started in Cleveland Heights by a University Heights resident 35 years ago. One third of its current performers live in Cleveland Heights. This homegrown ensemble has evolved into one of the premier orchestras in the region, attracting some of the best performers. Many of the 45 members have performed in other area orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra. 

Heights Chamber Orchestra members, all of whom are volunteers, practice up to five weeks for each performance before their first rehearsal. Boyagian said the conductor’s work is in the rehearsals, but in the performance “when a conductor starts the piece, then it takes the orchestra and the audience” to turn it into the journey. Susan Blackwell, clarinetist and board member, agreed. “The feedback performers sense from the audience is mutual," she said. "The orchestra and the audience move through the piece together.”

A Heights resident, Boyagian was born in Bologna, Italy, the proud son of internationally renowned Metropolitan Opera Verdi baritone Garbis Boyagian, who inspired his love for music. Boyagian, who came to the U.S. in 2000, holds a number of music degrees from various schools, including the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).

Pianist Hrant Bagrazyan, the featured soloist at the opening concert, will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58. Bagrazyan, from Yerevan, Armenia, studied at CIM with Sergei Babayan and HaeSun Paik. A first-prize winner in the San Jose International Piano Competition, Bagrazyan has played concerts in Armenia, Belgium, Poland and the United States.

Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations will close the concert.

All Heights Chamber Orchestra concerts are free and open to the public (free will donations accepted). The season-opening concert is co-sponsored by the Armenian American Community of Greater Cleveland. As always, the Heights Chamber Orchestra celebrates its opening concert with a reception following the concert, and this year’s table will include home-baked Armenian desserts for patrons to enjoy. To learn more about the Heights Chamber Orchestra visit http://www.heightschamberorchestra.org/blog.

Anita Kazarian

Anita Kazarian, a 35-year resident of University Heights has been active in many of the city’s volunteer organizations. She wants to hear your thoughts about making University Heights a more vibrant city; write to her at anitakazarian@gmail.com.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 12:46 PM, 10.01.2017