December 8, 2020

The Anne Jenkins Memorial Concert Series welcomes you to the Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s 55th hoilday concert! Tonight, the ISO’s string orchestra will share favorite classics and new works that celebrate the joys (and sweets) of the season.

Tonight’s performance is supported by Hilda Sutton & William D. Blanton Foundation, Radiology & Imaging Specialists and Visit Central Florida.

Watch online:


Please click the ‘+’ to reveal program notes.

George Frideric Handel (February 23, 1685 – APril 14, 1759), was a Baroque composer, well-known for operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi and organ concertos. His Messiah is an oratorio that follows the liturgical year in “scenes” described by librettist Charles Jennens:

Part 1: “The prophecy and realisation of God’s plan to redeem mankind by the coming of the Messiah”

Part 2: “The accomplishment of redemption by the sacrifice of Christ, mankind’s rejection of God’s offer, and mankind’s utter defeat when trying to oppose the power of the Almighty”

Part 3: “A Hymn of Thanksgiving for the final overthrow of Death”

The ISO’s string orchestra will present the only two movements from Messiah that are purely instrumental: Sinfony (the overture) and Pifa (a pastorale introducing the shepherds in Bethlehem).

Archangelo Corelli (February 17, 1653 – January 8, 1713) was a Baroque-era violinist and composer whose music helped develop familiar genres like sonata and concerto. Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 was commissioned by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni and was inscribed with Fatto per la notte di Natale (made for the night of Christmas), lending to its common title “Christmas Concerto.”

Solo performed by George Linakis, principal clarinet.

Hanukkah Overture was inspired by memories of the composer’s first Hanukkah with his grandmother and family. Composing the overture was a nostalgic experience. The piece is in four sections, and takes the listener through four moments during the Festival of Lights.

  • Lighting the Menorah is the first part, symbolizing the shimmering light from the candles and the warm glow of the menorah.
  • Ma’oz Tzur (Rock of Ages) is traditionally sung after lighting the candles. While the hymn has used many different melodies over the past seven or eight hundred years, Shugar adapted a melody that first appeared as early as 1450.
  • Gelt and Gift Giving follows, where gifts are joyfully exchanged between relatives and children traditionally receive delicious chocolate in the shape of coins.
  • Lastly, it is time to play with The Dreidel, the popular game that involves a spinning top and a collection of game pieces in the center of the table.
    The music reflects the twirling of the Dreidel and the fast-paced nature of the game.

Born in 1988 in Montreal, Quebec, Adam Shugar balances a diverse career as a pianist, composer, and arranger. Raised in Ottawa, he completed his B. Mus in classical piano at the University of Montreal where he studied with Daniel Moran. Adam’s versatility in different styles of music including classical, jazz, and rock, has enabled him to constantly delve into many projects. He is also an accomplished guitarist who has played with many groups in the Montreal region, including his own Bolero Trio, who, in October 2012, were invited to play in São Paulo, Brazil at the ten day Red Bull Sounderground festival. He has served as music director/conductor for musicals in Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg (Pippin, Bat Boy: The Musical, My Fair Lady), and most recently for MusiMétroMontréal’s Station Campus 3 spectacle at Café Campus with members of the Quebec group Les Colocs.

Adam’s music can be heard in various forms of media, such as iPhone applications (Big Questions with Ira Glass, 2012), film (The Museum of Arts, dir. M. Corriveau, 2012; Perfect, dir. Karim Ayari, 2013) and commercials (Red Bull Sounderground Festival 2012).

Since 2013, Hanukkah Overture has been played by orchestras in Canada, United States, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Symphonic Chocolates is the perfect soundtrack for a chocolate tasting: an orchestral suite in four short movements in which each movement evokes a different flavor of chocolate.

  1. Caramel Chocolate: A long, lyrical melody supported by a rich and enveloping sonority.
  2. Dark Chocolate: An intense habanera of desire and seduction, spiced up with a dissonant bitterness.
  3. Mint Chocolate: A delicate freshness with icy cold sonorities.
  4. Coffee-infused Chocolate: An espresso tempo with a Brazilian flavor.

Read more about the science behind music’s influence on taste.
Symphonic Chocolates was commissioned by the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, as part of a composer residency, for the 25th anniversary of the Brott Music Festival. The piece is dedicated to Ardyth and Boris Brott to thank them for all the artistic support they have given to the composer.

A symphony meant to accompany chocolate tasting, a piano concerto as a soundtrack for a chess game, a fishing story mimed by a costumed clarinetist, a cabaret opera based on a comic book, a crowd game for beach ball and orchestra, an 8-bit concerto, a workout for orchestra, a mashup of 35 anthems… With his communicative musical language and the originality of his concepts, the Montreal based composer Maxime Goulet connects with audiences from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, from youth audiences to savvy music aficionados. His music is written in a contemporary tonal style and has been described as “skillful, immediately pleasant and very cinematographic”, “melodic and narrative”, “a mix of simplicity, of modernity and of humour”, and “an immediate connection with the audience”. His album Symphonic Chocolates has been described as “an off-the-wall idea that makes classical music more festive”.

His works has been performed on five continents by leading ensembles such as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera, the Liege Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Régional de Normandie, the National Art Center Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Pacific Opera Victoria, Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, the Endless Mountain Music Festival Orchestra, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, the Conway Symphony Orchestra, the Stratford Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony.

Matthew Riley is an award-winning composer and arranger based in Minneapolis, MN. His wide body of work includes original compositions for radio and TV commercials, charts and orchestrations for TV shows (including NBC’s The Voice), scores for multiple documentary films, and hundreds of arrangements and orchestrations of songs for churches and recording artists. Among his accomplishments are several pieces featured on JW Pepper’s Editor’s Choice list, as well as various festival lists. In 2019 he won the SMP Press Composition Competition in two categories.

His pop-classical arrangements and compositions see thousands of performances per year by orchestras on six continents, and have been enjoyed in theaters, churches, and schools. Riley’s music was featured at Madison Square Garden for two concerts in Andrea Bocelli’s 2019 Christmas tour. Other notable performances have been by Italy’s RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Imperial Philharmonics, US Marine Band, Canadian Royal 22nd Regiment Band and the Colorado Symphony.

John Henry Hopkins Jr. wrote “We Three Kings of Orient Are” in 1857 for a pageant in New York City. While the text is referencing Matthew 2:11, the passage doesn’t refer to them as kings and doesn’t give a specific number of how many were present. Moreover, the men were most likely from the middle east rather than the orient. Still Hopkin’s carol has become one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time. With this arrangement, Matt Riley reimagines the carol as an exciting and epic journey filled with mystery, adventure and wonder.


Dr. Nina Kim, Concertmaster
Alvaro Pereiro, Associate Concertmaster
Will Jackson, 1st Violin
Konstantin Dimitrov, 1st Violin
Marina Tucker, Principal 2nd Violin
Joshua Dampier, 2nd Violin
Dixie Ortiz, 2nd Violin
Jared Tindall, 2nd Violin
Dr. Rafael Ramirez, Principal Viola
Tracy Thielen, Viola
Lorenzo Sanchez, Viola
Tyler Goehring, Viola
Michael Sedloff, Principal Cello
Edevaldo Mulla, Cello
Matthew Davis, Cello
Audra Thielen, Cello
Michael Lawson, Principal Bass
Fon Silvers, Bass
Linda Charlton, Principal Piano
George Linakis, Principal Clarinet

Maestro Mark Thielen, Music Director

Thank yous

Live music endures because of your support.

This unique season exists to bring joy, offer healing, support educators and connect our community. Please click below for a recognition of the ISO’s many dedicated and generous members and supporters.

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