Since joining UMass Boston this fall Sommer Forrester, PhD, has begun a blur of cultivating music traditions and laying foundation for new ones in the Department of Performing Arts. But on Sunday, November 22, she’s inviting the public to “unplug and connect.”
Forrester takes the baton with the UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra on November 22, among the oldest institutions on campus. Comprised of students, staff, faculty and community members, the Chamber Orchestra was originally founded in 1966, later reformed and conducted by Jon Mitchell from 1992 until last May. Forrester’s aiming to increase participation and a fresh perspective around the orchestra, while maintaining its storied tradition of excellence.
“I inherited a really thoughtful and well-established orchestra. I want to continue that tradition of partnerships, but also encourage more students to participate,” says Forrester. “The orchestra has a long history of strong performances and a wide variety of repertoire, and I’m hoping to build on that with dynamic programming and increased opportunities for students.”
The fall concert, titled Truth, Lies, and the Human Condition, features selections from Mozart, Grieg, and Schubert. Planning has already begun for the spring concert – the first in the stellar new Recital Hall in nearly complete University Hall. She’s announced a university-wide open concerto competition for soloists to perform at that concert, instrumental and voice, with auditions being held December 2 and 9.
But, as the concert begins on Nov. 22, the planning and initiatives take a back seat to the music. Forrester hopes that those new to classical music will discover something new and magical, and that all can escape from their own daily frenzies for a while.
“I can’t think of a better thing to do on a Sunday afternoon,” she says. “Particularly if you’ve never been to an orchestra concert, come and hear a wide variety of repertoire. Unplug, connect with art. Just sit, listen, and enjoy.”
Forrester earned her PhD in Music Education with a cognate in wind conducting from the University of Michigan, and taught instrumental music for eight years in three different countries: Kuwait, Israel, and Canada. During her three-year tenure overseas at American International Schools, she taught elementary music, beginning band, and directed middle and high school level ensembles. In addition, Dr. Forrester was an instructor at a local conservatory of music where she gave private horn lessons to refugee children from the West Bank. Forrester returned to her native country to assume the role as Director of Bands at Havergal College, a private girls’ school in Toronto Canada.
Truth, Lies, and The Human Condition, The UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Sommer Forrester Conductor, November 22, 4 pm. In the Campus Center Ballroom.