Anne Harrigan | WMUK

Anne Harrigan

Garland Cannon, via Flickr. All Creative Commons license / https://bit.ly/3lMGl5Q

The Battle Creek Symphony, which typically presents around 70 school outreach events every year, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring by offering free online music lessons to all kids in the Battle Creek school system. Now, as music director Anne Harrigan tells Cara Lieurance, it's time to bring the BCSO musicians back to the stage, and give music lovers free access to online events on a pay-what-you-can basis.


anneharrigan.com

Anne Harrigan is the conductor of two orchestras, one in Billings, MT, and one in Battle Creek, MI. Both have had their seasons derailed by the pandemic.  In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Harrigan says she and the Battle Creek Symphony took two weeks to regroup when the shutdown began in Michigan.  Then came a pivot: Harrigan and other orchestra musicians began offering free online music lessons to young people in the Battle Creek school system. Harrigan also created a series of videos featuring past performances, sharing them on Facebook and YouTube.


NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Feb 26 2020

At 7:30 pm on Saturday, Feb 29, conductor Anne Harrigan will lead the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra in a performance of The Planets by Gustav Holst.  In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Harrigan says Holst wrote the piece at the turn of the last century after reading some mystic writings about astrology. Under her direction, the music, which requires a huge orchestra that can produce unique sonic signatures, will be accompanied by images from NASA, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. 

Guest artist and rising star Zachary Brandon, a native of Battle Creek, will return from advanced studies in California to play music from the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with his hometown orchestra, Harrigan says. The final piece is the opening overture, written at age 21 by Samuel Barber. His Overture to the School for Scandal is a personal favorite for Harrigan. It's a signature piece for one of her mentors, conductor David Zinman. 

courtesy of the artist

A leading star in contemporary Gospel music, Freddy Washington, Jr. is accustomed to visiting big congregations around the country to lead musical services, a mission that grew out of his years as lead soloist for the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. At 7:30 pm on Saturday, Dec 14 at W.K. Kellogg Auditorium, he'll give a Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra audience a taste of his faith-based artistry in "A Gospel Christmas." It will include appearances by local luminaries Carolyn Ballard and Altamiece Ballard, and the Sojourner Truth Gospel Choir, and the Battle Creek Girls Chorus. Washington, Jr and Battle Creek Symphony music director Anne Harrigan join Cara Lieurance to preview the concert and share some highlights.


Kai-Marius Pedersen, via Flickr All Creative Commons

The Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra continues its 2018-19 season on Mar 2 at 7:30 pm with "Fantasia," a program of orchestral showpieces popularized in the 1940 Disney movie Fantasia as well as its followup, Fantasia 2000. Conductor Anne Harrigan shares behind-the-scenes stories about how Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney met, and introduces The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, and Respighi's The Pines of Rome. For the famously difficult Stokowski transcription of of Bach's Toccata in D minor, Harrigan has invited Western Michigan University organist Karl Schrock to play sections of the work with the orchestra on the historic Skinner organ in W.K. Kellogg Auditorium. 


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