Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 6, 2022

PREVIEW: Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Spring 2022 Concerts

Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, MA
by Michael J. Moran 

Mark Russell Smith
The SSO will present two concerts this spring, on Friday, April 22, and Friday, May 13. Both
programs will be led by Minneapolis-based Mark Russell Smith, SSO Music Director from 1995 through 2000. They will take place at 7:30pm in Springfield’s Symphony Hall. 

Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa will be the featured visiting artist for the first concert, “Of Heroes and Poets.” Mesa is affiliated with the Detroit-based Sphinx organization. Focused on increasing representation of Black and Latinx artists in classical music, Sphinx is a social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Mesa will perform Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. The SSO will also present William Grant Still’s “Danzas de Panama,” featuring Latin tunes and rhythms, and Robert Schumann’s Symphony #2. 

Speaking in a recent interview about “classics” like Dvorak’s concerto, Mesa said, “I’m always looking for the new, even, I think, in these great works that are actually really old.” For the past ten years, he has played a cello made by Richard Tobin in 1820. This cello was used to record soundtracks for the first movies ever created. 

On May 13, in a program called “Dances of Spring,” the orchestra will play Michael Abels’ “Liquify,” Aaron Copland’s “Saturday Night Waltz” from the ballet “Rodeo,” Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Coquetos from An Andean Walkabout,” and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony #1. 

Abels is a U.S. composer and producer best known for his scores for the Oscar-winning films, Get Out and Us. Born in Berkeley, California to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage through her compositions. 

Tickets may be purchased through the SSO box office (413-733-2291) or online at the orchestra’s web site: