Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra to present March 2 concert, symposium in honor of Women’s History Month

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Program features works by three composers who defied the odds and a panel of women leaders who will share stories of successes, challenges

Celebrating Women’s History Month, the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra on March 2 will perform works by women composers revered for their talents and perseverance and host a preconcert symposium featuring five successful women in the arts and business who will share their personal and professional stories.

At 7:30 p.m. in First Presbyterian Church, 3231 W. Tilghman St., Allentown, Music Director Paul Chou will lead the Sinfonia in performances of the Overture in C Major by Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805-1847); Concertino for Flute, Op. 107, with Christine Moulton, principal flutist, by Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944); and Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 36, by Louise Farrenc (1804-1875).

The performance will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. panel discussion in the sanctuary featuring Lourdes Starr, executive director of Astral Artists; Sun Min Lee, the former Robert Cutler Endowed Teaching Associate Professor in Choral Arts at Lehigh University; Anne Lewis, head of the Division of Performing Arts and associate professor at DeSales University; Rebecca Merola, entrepreneur and owner of the Designery Quakertown; and Leela Breithaupt, executive director of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

“This whole event is a celebration of the contributions made by women in the performing arts and the business world, from the 19th century to today,” says Chou, who will facilitate the panel discussion. “In choosing the concert repertoire, we’re presenting women composers who faced gender inequality and struggled for fairness and still managed to achieve notoriety and respect in a male-dominated profession.

“Along with celebrating the pioneering spirit of these important composers, we are equally honored to be joined by a dynamic panel of local women who have made significant contributions in their professional lives,” he adds. “Our audience will be inspired by their stories of successes, challenges, and lessons learned and reflections on how the careers of these three composers set an early and lasting example about perseverance and refusing to be silenced. We hope people come away with a newfound appreciation of these composers and their music and take pride in the Lehigh Valley region, which provides opportunities for all to succeed.”

As she prepares for the Chaminade Concertino, Moulton credits Chou for choosing women composers who defied the odds rather than programming just any music by women composers, and for organizing the complimentary symposium.

“The music of Mendelssohn-Hensel, Farrenc, and Chaminade is worthy to be part of the standard repertoire because of these composers’ talent and brilliance,” Moulton observes. “What a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month. Paul is doing such good work connecting the community and the orchestra. This is another inspired example. This engaging concert repertoire, combined with bringing in prominent women in the community and having them share their stories, is sure to be uplifting.”

Opening the concert will be Mendelssohn Hensel’s Overture in C Major, her only work for orchestra alone, which combines thematic coherence with a wide range of color and expression. Despite remaining unpublished during her lifetime, the overture has continued to be well received by contemporary audiences around the world.

Farrenc, admired by her contemporaries, including Schumann and Berlioz, was a noted scholar, composer, and teacher at the Paris Conservatory. Influenced by Mozart, Schumann and Chopin, her Symphony #3 in g minor is uniquely crafted in her own voice, an energetic and satisfying work. The Sinfonia is also proud to feature Moulton in Chaminade’s effervescent Concertino for flute and orchestra, one of the French composer’s most often performed works today.

To purchase tickets, call the Sinfonia office at 610-434-7811. Tickets can also be purchased at and at the door.

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Information provided to TVL by:
Bryan Hay