“The Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra’s performances of The Nutcracker this weekend with a Bethpage ballet company are the latest efforts by the 34-year-old orchestra to strengthen its community focus and expand its audience,” writes David Olson in Thursday’s (12/14) Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.). The performances “will be the first time in two decades that the annual Eglevsky Nutcracker show will be accompanied by live instead of recorded music. The orchestra’s conductor, David Bernard, who also conducts the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in Manhattan, said the collaboration with the ballet will expose the orchestra to more families who may not typically attend classical music concerts. Since Bernard last year became the orchestra’s music director, he has developed a close relationship with Massapequa public schools [including] ‘master classes’ to small groups of student musicians…. When on a Sunday in March about 85 third-graders sat next to orchestra members and watched them ‘play entire movements of symphonies, they were engaged,’ [Bernard] said…. Attendance at orchestra concerts has roughly doubled in the past two years … Maurice Brandon Curry, the executive artistic director of Eglevsky, said a live orchestra will enhance The Nutcracker for audiences. ‘It’s a sensory experience…. You’re enveloped in one sound and atmosphere.’ ”

Posted December 15, 2017