Educating and entertaining: The Boise Philharmonic at 60

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The Boise Philharmonic has made its home at the Morrison Center, and consequently the campus community has become an inextricable part of the orchestra’s performances. Ryann Aery is a violinist for the philharmonic and is also  working on a graduate degree in music at Boise State, tottering between performances for both institutions. 

“I was looking, and there was an audition for the philharmonic coming up, and then I saw the graduate program, and I was like, ‘This seems like such a cool opportunity,’” said Aery. “I got here, and not only is the program that [Boise State] offers amazing, and I get to work with these great chamber musicians, but the philharmonic here is amazing, and is so much more than I ever expected.” 

Aery had never been to the west coast when she moved to Boise, but after some years in New York City, she decided that a dramatic change would be beneficial. Aery said that she was shocked at how many people were invested in the classical music community in Boise, and also at the extensive outreach that the philharmonic does to engage the Treasure Valley. 

“They do a lot of cool things to get people to go to the concerts too, like we have ‘Harry Potter’ that we do, ‘Star Wars,’ I think we’re doing a Disney one too. So we try to get bigger audiences,” said Aery. “Once you go it’s such a different experience. I think it seems intimidating at first, because classical music isn’t something people go to listen to.” 

Aery said that Eric Garcia, the music director for the philharmonic, manages to combine many styles of music to appeal to the variable preferences of people in the audience. For Garcia, this is a priority that keeps the community engaged and excited about the work the philharmonic is doing. 

“If you look back on the history of this philharmonic, so much incredible music that we’re performing was composed during the last 100 years. So if we can be part of that tradition of encouraging new music that will be performed 50 years later, 60 years later, 100 years later, then we’re doing our job as a vital performing arts organization,” said Garcia. 

This season to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the philharmonic, they decided to co-commision a piece of music by the composer Zhou Tian entitled “Transcend” which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad. Tian’s work was premiered in Boise in October, and was an integral part of the philharmonic’s current season. 

“Putting together a season is a very difficult project, and it takes lots of time and lots of consideration of many different people,” Garcia said. “We have a top notch orchestra with the Boise Philharmonic that can perform any work and make it sound world class.” 

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