The Boise Philharmonic has big plans in store for its upcoming season. Although the Phil is going digital due to the pandemic, the organization is working on strengthening the bond between music and local community.
“We were all devastated in March when it became clear we had to cancel the season because of coronavirus,” said Executive Director Laura Reynolds. “But it did give us a lot of space to think about this season and how we can show up for our community, and build our capacity over time to ensure we never have to cancel again.”
In response to COVID-19, the Boise Phil has taken a new approach to its programming, and the 2020-2021 season will feature an online digital stage with over 85 works and 27 performances, and spotlights local composers and local communities through a variety of events including community service performance projects and neighborhood pop-up concerts. In addition, the organization has extended Music Director Eric Garcia’s contract through the 2023-2024 season.
“Eric has hired so many musicians that really has made the orchestra shine,” said Reynolds. “His artistic vision was so important to the development of this season and we’re looking forward to having him here to help us grow.”
This season the Phil is working on expanding its membership, and people can access the season on the website in three different ways: buying a membership, music advocate or digital stage subscription. Membership can range from $2,500-$30,000, but members get special access to performances and the digital stage, invitations to special events, discounts and attendance at the annual meeting. Music advocate subscriptions are $99.99 a month and include access to the digital stage with two free subscriptions to community and education partners, and a digital stage subscription is $29.99 a month.
Reynolds said that many people may think that membership to the Boise Phil is just a seat in the hall, but stressed that the organization is much more: “We do a lot with the community with schools and activities, and we want people to connect with us. It’s not just about buying a seat. We support the arts community in Boise.”
The concert lineup for the digital stage features the musicians performing different ensembles with the intent to create a more intimate feeling. Works from Beethoven to Wagner and will premier three to four times a month on Saturday evenings. Monthly interviews with Garcia and archived audio recordings will also be available. Garcia’s new programming will also feature local composers and three of the concerts, Women’s Suffrage Centennial, Sounds of Idaho and The Basque Block, explore different cultural and historical connections in Idaho.
The Women’s Suffrage Centennial celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and will feature works by Stacy Garrop, Rebecca Clarke, Valerie Coleman, Florence Price and Jennifer Higdon. Sounds of Idaho includes local composers Eric Alexander, David Alan Earnest and Jim Cockey, and The Basque Block will feature music from Basque composers Maurice Ravel and Pablo de Sarasate.
The Phil will also host events outside the stage and will have four community-wide takeovers in the form of community service projects and pop-up concerts in October, December, March and May.