By Skip Sheffield
Here is something you don’t see every day: a classical chamber orchestra all the way from Hungary.
Not only is the Remenyi Ede one of Central Europe’s finest orchestras, this is its second appearance in the USA as part of the Symphony of the Americas’ Summerfest music festival.
“We wanted to bring back one of our favorite European chamber orchestras,” explains Symphony of the Americas manager Renee LaBonte. “Remenyi Ede is one of Hungary’s finest orchestra, and Laszlo Pap, our principal violinist, is Hungarian, so it is sort of like a reunion.”
This is the 20th anniversary season for SOA’s Summerfest. This is no small feat, as it is a diplomatically and logistically complicated and quite expensive undertaking. The festival began in Remenyi Ede’s home town of Miskolc, in northern Hungary in May. The Florida portion of the festival runs from July 8 through July 28.
In between the Florida concerts, in locations from Miami to Vero Beach, the orchestra will jet off to Panama for a performance residency July 10-17. SOA maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese is originally from Panama, and he has become his country’s foremost musical ambassador.
After a Florida return, Summerfest travels for the first time to the South American country of Ecuador. “The main reason for Summerfest is the idea of cultural exchange,” says LaBonte, who is also the orchestra’s pianist. “This is our first time in Ecuador. While we are there and in Panama we will teach 10,000 kids. For Summerfest we have visited every country in Central America, and this makes our fourth South American visit.”
Augmented by members of SOA, Remenyi Ede will be playing a kind “greatest hits of Summerfest’ program, featuring works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vitali, Vivaldi, Boccherini, Massenet, the Argentine tangos of Astor Piazzola and Hungarian composer Leo Weiner.
While the orchestra was in Hungary they played and made live recordings at the 100-year-old landmark Bella Bartok Hall and a historic restored synagogue in Tokaj. A two-CD set, “Reflections,” will showcase musical favorites from the entire 20 years of Summerfest.
“I must put in a good word for our sponsors,” declares LaBonte. “American Airlines has always been there for us and Wachovia pitched in very generously. We are grateful for all our donors who help us keep orchestral music alive and vital as the Symphony of the Americas heads into its 24th season.”
Concerts closest to Boca Raton are listed as follows.
Friday, July 8, 8 p.m.: Sunshine Cathedral, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222.
Tuesday, 7 p.m. July 19: Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-987-5481.
Wednesday, 8 p.m. July 20: Broward Center for the Arts Amaturo Theatre. Tickets $20-$55 (includes reception). Call 954-462-0222.
Friday, 7 p.m. July 22; Main Beach Deerfield Beach. Admission free. Go to www.deerfield-beach.com.
Wednesday, 7 p.m. July 27, First United Methodist Church, Coral Springs. Tickets $15 and $20. Call 954-752-0333.
For more information about Symphony of the Americas, call 954-335-7002 or go to www.symphonyoftheamericas.org