In Friday’s (4/3) Portland Press Herald (Maine), Bob Keyes writes, “Against a backdrop of financial stress, the Portland Symphony Orchestra announced its 2009-10 schedule on Thursday, highlighted by guest appearances by mandolin prodigy Chris Thile, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and funk band Motor Booty Affair. Robert Moody, the orchestra’s music director and conductor, described the season as adventurous and bold, mixing classical masterworks such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (also known as ‘Resurrection’) with a new mandolin concerto written and performed by Thile. The orchestra co-commissioned the piece, which Thile is still writing. Best known for his work with the modern bluegrass band Nickel Creek, Thile will join the orchestra on March 28, 2010, to play the piece.” The orchestra, whose endowment has been hit hard in the downturn, “is trying to fill a budget gap for the current fiscal year, and is contemplating a budget for the 2009-10 season that will be less than this year’s $2.8 million. … Moody said his programming decisions reflect the new economic realities. … He said that the artistic quality will not suffer, and that the orchestra will remain ‘the gem of an orchestra that it is.’ ”

Posted April 6, 2009