The Omaha Symphony Goes on a Celtic Journey

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March 4th, 2016

Omaha, NE — The Omaha Symphony looks to take audience members on a trip to the Emerald Isle.

Concertmaster Susanna  Perry Gilmore

Concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore

This weekend, the Omaha Symphony debuts their new show Celtic Journey, a new program featuring concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore on fiddle, Irish storyteller Tomáseen Foley, members of the Celtic Journey Band and Dancers, as well as local students from Dowds Irish Dance Academy. Gilmore talked about how excited she was for audience members to see a truly unique Irish collaboration.

 

“It’s been an exciting and interesting collaboration from the get go,” she said. “Everybody’s bringing their own things to the table and what’s going to happen this weekend will be magic.”

 

So what exactly can audiences expect to see this weekend?

 

“Coming to this concert, you will hear a wide array of traditional Irish instrumental music. You’ll hear jigs, reels, polkas, slip jigs, and beautiful aires,” she said.

 

Celtic Journey was conceived partly to highlight the fiddling talents of Gilmore, who is a frequent guest violinist/fiddler with the Cleveland Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire while not acting as Omaha Symphony’s concertmaster. For Gilmore, the music she plays connects to her own heritage. As a kid, she was interested in the learning the Irish folk style but had no teachers. It was up to her and her friends to listen to tape recordings of Irish folk music and start teaching themselves. When she was 17, her family moved to England where she stayed for 5 years. While living there, Gilmore discovered that in every town, there was always a pub that had great bands playing Irish folk music. It was those years spent watching and playing with other musicians that solidified her love for all things Celtic.

 

She then gave some examples of the types of music played this weekend.

 

“When you come this weekend, you’ll get to see lots of amazing examples of the dances,” she said.

 

Perhaps the biggest challenge in creating the program was blending the style of Irish folk music, usually played by a small group of musicians, with the much larger size of a full symphony orchestra. It’s a challenge that Gilmore said they Symphony took very seriously by investing plenty of time and resources.

 

“It’s going to be a nice marriage of the two because as soon as you add orchestra to something that is traditionally a small folk ensemble, you’re already changing it quite drastically,” she said. “How do you enhance that folk tradition without obliterating it? I think that’s a question we’ve been really sensitive to and I think we’ve come up with a great solution.”

 

The Omaha Symphony’s debut of Celtic Journey will have two performances, Saturday March 5th, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6th at 2 p.m. For more information on the program, call 402-345-0606 or visit www.OmahaSymphony.org.

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