Guest conductor Dwayne Corbin leads the Juneau Symphony through rehearsals. Corbin has a history guest conducting and performing with the symphony.(Courtesy Photo | Taylor Mills)

Guest conductor Dwayne Corbin leads the Juneau Symphony through rehearsals. Corbin has a history guest conducting and performing with the symphony.(Courtesy Photo | Taylor Mills)

Juneau Symphony includes familar tunes, faces in season opener

Old favorites picked for guest conductor, soloist and first two pieces

The Juneau Symphony is kicking off the 2018-19 season with crowd-pleasers.

Guest conductor Dwayne Corbin, who guest conducted during the 2014-15 season and has a history performing with the symphony, said beginning the first concert of the season with “America the Beautiful” and a suite from “Carmen” is a calculated move to help the audience connect with classical music.

“I wanted to do a piece that would be an audience favorite,” Corbin told the Capital City Weekly shortly after speaking to the Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club during its Thursday morning meeting.

Corbin, who is also an associate professor for George Fox University in Oregon, said one complaint he often hears leveled at classical music is that without vocals to key in on, it can be difficult for casual listeners to find a focal point, so the Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 concerts include especially melodic, memorable pieces.

He said if people recognize any piece of classical music, there’s a good chance they know “Habanera” from “Carmen.”

“There’s going to be very tuneful melodies, and it will be a treat for your ears in that way,” Corbin said.

“America the Beautiful” also pays homage to veterans given the concerts’ proximity to Veterans Day.

Symphony President Stan Lujan said starting the concert season with Corbin is also meant to start the season off well.

“He’s played in our symphony,” Lujan said. “We really love Dwayne. He’ll set the tone for the season. He’s really our anchor.”

The not-as-well-known works that constitute the second half of the upcoming November concerts will offer a “visceral” depth of emotion meant to appeal to listeners, Corbin said.

“It’s got a lot of passion, and sometimes takes really intense turns in emotion,” Corbin said

The concerts, which coincide with the symphony’s annual silent auction, also serve as a counter to the idea that classical music is a genre on its way out.

“That’s been a myth for at least 100 years,” Corbin said. “That’s not true.”

He said a vibrant Juneau arts community and the strength of the symphony helps disprove it and so does seeing a performance in-person.

“The energy of live music cannot be replaced,” Corbin said.

In addition to Corbin, the concerts will include another face familiar to Juneau — violinist Lisa Ibias will be a featured soloist in works by Saint-Saëns and Arvo Pärt.

Lujan said he’s excited she will be part of the concert.

There’s a chance for the general public to be included in a future concert, too.

Symphony Vice President Beth Pendleton expressed excitement for silent auction prizes that will be up for grabs at the concerts that will allow a bidder to pick up a baton.

“Folks can bid on conducting a number in the June pops concert,” Pendleton said.

More guests to come

Concerts in January, April and June will also feature guest conductors.

This is because of the June departure of the previous music director Troy Quinn.

Pendleton said Thursday morning the search is on to find a permanent replacement, but it’s still in its early stages.

“We’re just starting what is a three-year process of selecting a new music director and conductor,” Pendleton said.

She said a lot of interest is expected in the ongoing search, and applications are already coming in.

Three finalists will be selected to conduct a concert next year, and an announcement of a new music director is expected in 2020, Pendleton said.

Aside from Corbin, this year’s guest conductors include Tigran Arakelyan, William Todd Hunt and Yaniv Attar, respectively in January, April and June.

Know & Go

What: Juneau Symphony Symphonic Songs concert.

Where: Juneau-Douglas High School

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11.

Admission: $15-$35, and available online through JuneauSymphony.org, or at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center or Hearthside Books.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

Most Read