The Hippo


May 30, 2020








Mark Latham. Courtesy photo.


Where: Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy, 44 N. Main St., Derry
When: Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m.
Admission: $12 to $50, $10 for students

Role of the artist
NH Philharmonic presents “Hindemith”

By Kelly Sennott

 The New Hampshire Philharmonic’s last concert of the season, “Hindemith,” features the Pinkerton Academy Choir at the Stockbridge Theatre on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. It is the last concert under Thomas Quigley, Pinkerton Academy’s fine arts director who retires this spring, and the first with the Phil’s new executive director, Cathy Kaplan.

Music includes “Concerto for Two Flutes and Orchestra” by Albert Franz Doppler; John Rutter’s Requiem, performed with Pinkerton’s choir; and the concert’s showcase piece, “Mathis der Maler Symphonie” by Paul Hindemith. The latter contains segments from Hindemith’s opera, Mathis der Maler, which the composer wrote during the Nazi regime and which was inspired by real-life painter Matthias Grünewald. While the musicians play, audiences will see large replicas of Grünewald’s paintings on stage.
“One of the remarkable things about the music is how you can clearly hear how Hindemith was clearly looking at these paintings and inspired by them to write music that reflects what the subject matter of the paintings is,” said the orchestra’s music director, Mark Latham, via phone. 
He thinks the message of the story — about the role of the artist in society — is relatable to all members of the orchestra, and any artist in general. 
“I think the artist in the U.S. struggles more just to make ends meet, and when they struggle … they question, is it all worth it? What is my contribution to my fellow humanity?” Latham said. “But [as an artist] the way you can best serve humanity is to go back and do what you do best. … Without novels, without paintings, without music, life would be pretty barren.”
The concert requires a 65-member orchestra, whose members range in age and experience, from teens to musicians who’ve been playing for 30 years. Kaplan is excited to work with the group, whose roots trace back to 1895. 
“The Philharmonic has survived, despite the fact that support for arts organizations has suffered since 2007. They have persevered because they believe so strongly in their mission of bringing world-class music to the state,” said Kaplan, who was named executive director a couple weeks before this concert. 
Kaplan worked in marketing at the Concord Community Music School for 15 years, and in 2013 she studied at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and earned a degree in Arts in Education. 
“One of the assignments we had for the end of the year was to write a short personal piece explaining or describing where we saw ourselves in five years. And the first line of my essay was, ‘In five years, I will be the executive director of an arts nonprofit in New Hampshire.’ That was four years ago. I had no idea what time would bring, but that’s been a goal of mine these past four years. And I’m thrilled the New Hampshire Philharmonic helped me realize [this goal],” she said.
Kaplan’s first priorities are to focus on fundraising, reignite the high school concerto competition, fill seats and raise the profile of the orchestra by advancing its website and marketing plan.
“In the last few days, when I’ve mentioned this new role to people, some of them said, ‘I haven’t heard about them in a while,’ or, ‘I didn’t know they were still around,’ which isn’t something I want to hear anymore!” she said. “It is a part-time position, but the goal will be to grow with fundraising and audience engagement and marketing … so it becomes a full-time position with a staff.”

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