Canadian conductor Tania Miller took over the Rhode Island Philharmonic podium for Bramwell Tovey with two weeks’ notice, as the conductor was being treated for cancer.
Tovey chose the program, reflecting the theme of veterans, especially in the opening piece by William Grant Still, “In Memoriam: The Colored Soldiers Who Died For Democracy.”
Conductor Miller looked very comfortable on the podium, joining with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott for a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.2, a piece that requires careful coordination between orchestra and soloist.
The intense first movement had the usually restrained audience applauding, as McDermott displayed an intense interpretation of the solo parts. After sustained applause, she returned for a beautiful Bach etude. The concert closed with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, the Soviet composer’s masterpiece.
Once again, the Philharmonic’s leadership rises to the occasion in finding the best talent available. Miller, one of the few female conductors in the world and McDermott, one of the most talented pianists, should be an inspiration to the young women studying at the RI Philharmonic Music School and beyond.
Rhode Island’s own Christine Noel will take the podium, conducting the Philharmonic and her Providence Singers in Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, December 14 at 7 p.m. Tovey will be back on January 24 for an All Mozart concert. Tickets are available for both upcoming concerts by calling 248-7000.
Note: I do not claim to be an expert on classical music, but I have been an ardent fan since taking Introduction to Classical Music in college nearly 60 years ago. I hesitate to call myself a “critic,” but put myself in the category of music lover, like just about everybody else in the Vets audience, who love good music and appreciate the outstanding orchestra we have.