Vista Philharmonic Orchestra: 49th Season

Bruce Hangen, Conductor & Artistic Director

Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 7:30pm

The Concert Hall at Groton Hill


Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

I. Allegro molto appassionato
Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace

Soloist: Alice Hallstrom, concertmaster 


Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Part I:
Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemeng
Part II:
Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
Part III:
Adagietto. Sehr langsam
Rondo – Finale. Allegro – Allegro giocoso. Frisch

Vista Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruce Hangen, Artistic Director & Conductor
Stone Family Endowed Music Director’s Chair

Violin I
*Li-Mei Liang, Concertmaster
Anabelle Hangen, Associate Concertmaster
Mona Rashad
Cindy Cummings
Allan Espinosa
Shuang Yang
Rebecca Hawkins
Jane Dimitry
Stuart Schulman
Jorge Soto
Lauren Cless
Betsy Hinkle
Caxton Jones

Violin II
*Stanley Silverman
Lynn Basila
John Guarino
Nicki Payne
Susan Turcotte-Gavriel
Caterina Yetto
Todd Hamelin
Laura Papandrea
Job Salazar
Ana Maria La Pointe

*Alexander Vavilov
Darcy Montaldi
Lauren Nelson
Steven Sergi
Robert Kennedy
Jing Wei-Huey
+Dorcas McCall
Karen McConomy
Caroline Drozdiak

*Young Sook Lee
Ben Swartz
George Hughen
Shay Rudolph
Nathan Kimball
Priscilla Chew
Susan Randazzo
Nathaniel Lathrop

*Kevin Green
Robb Aistrup
Justin McCarty
Michael Simon
John Wall
Kate Foss

*Melissa Mielens
Jessica Lizak
Caitlyn Schmidt
Grace Helmke

*Andrew Price
Elizabeth England
Ben Fox

*Hunter Bennett
Sandra Halberstadt
+William Kirkley

*Hazel Malcolmson
Andrew Flurer
Gabe Ramey

*Michael Bellofatto
Hazel Dean Davis
Nancy Hudgins
Nick Auer
Laura Crook Brisson
Neil Godwin
Jennifer Robbins

*Mark Emery
Kyle Spraker
Steve Banzaert
Geoff Shamu

*Peter Cirelli
Alexei Doohovskoy
Donald Robinson

*Michael Stephan

*Greg Simonds

*Michael Ambroszewski
Aaron Trant
Tom Schmidt
Nick Tolle

+Groton Hill Music School Faculty

Librarian: Kate Weiss

PROGRAM NOTES by Maestro Bruce Hangen

When Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed his only Violin Concerto (1845), he was at the height of his career and compositional powers. Wanting to write a concerto for childhood friend Ferdinand David and then-concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra of which he was Music Director (the Music Director today is Andris Nelsons, also conductor of the Boston Symphony), after a number of years and revisions, Mendelssohn eventually composed what has become one of the most standard, most performed violin concertos of all time. Studied and performed by all young, aspiring pre-professional violinists, this piece is a novel, yet exquisite example of the classical concerto form. Particularly notable is the omission of a beginning orchestral statement of the principal theme(s); rather, after only a second or two, the violin solo enters, stating the main theme. Also notable is the fact that, while the concerto is in the standard 3-movement scheme, it is held together by transitions that continue the flow movement-to-movement. Alice Hallstrom has shared with me her joy at re-visiting this concerto, as she hasn’t played it in years, and is extremely excited (as am I) to be sharing it with you tonight.

The Symphony No. 5 (1902) by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) reminds me of the story of Mahler and composer Richard Strauss walking in the great outdoors, and Mahler says to Strauss, “look at these mountains, look at this landscape –– this is what I’ve composed”! There is so much to be said about this symphony that cannot be included in a short program note such as we have here. But here’s a start: not just in movements, but now in “parts”, this is a long symphony by normal standards. Movements 1 and 2 comprise Part 1, and movements 4 and 5 comprising Part 3, are only the most superficial look at the entire work. Beginning with a massive funeral march (certainly appropriate given our Veterans’ Day performance), continuing with a fairly diabolic scherzo, then a scherzo-fantasy featuring the principal horn, followed by a contradictory very slow movement for harp and strings only, and concluding with an ebullient, forward-moving and even triumphantly concluding movement, puts this symphony at the top of the list of monumental, post-romantic milestones of symphonic music-making.

If you’re new to the music of Mahler (welcome! by the way), here are a few suggestions for listening from me, a life-long devotee of Mahler’s symphonic compositions. Do not try to firgure it out moment-to-moment; rather, just go with the flow. Mahler’s music is so emotional and expressive, that all you need to do is take in the music––whether loud, soft, active or static––and let each moment play on your own soul however you wish to incorporate it. Hang in there with the drama of each passing moment, without trying to make meaning of it, and allow yourself to enjoy the drama of the adventure as each moment passes. This is how we approach Mahler’s music as performers, as it truly represents the totality of our world, our environment, our personalities, indeed our community all in one symphony-time.


Alice Hallstrom, concertmaster

Violinist Alice Hallstrom has served as concertmaster of the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012. She was also assistant concertmaster of the Portland Symphony and assistant concertmaster of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. Alice has performed with Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, A Far Cry, BMOP, Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Her featured solo performances include concerti with the Vista Philharmonic (formerly Orchestra of Indian Hill), Southwest Symphony, Juilliard Baroque Ensemble, Purchase Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of Tennessee. As a chamber musician, Alice has performed with Camerata New England and Chamber Music Atlanta, and spent three summers at Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. She has recorded with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, BMOP, Josh Groban, Natalie Cole, Chamber Music Atlanta, Train, Ephraim’s Harp, and The Cartoon Network.

A third-generation musician, Alice began playing the violin when she was 2 years old and is very grateful to her parents for making her practice! She holds degrees from The Juilliard School and SUNY Purchase, and spent six years at the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Division. Her principal teachers have been Malcolm Lowe, Robert Mann, Laurie Smukler, Thomas Halpin, and Anastasia Jempelis. Alice resides in Bedford, MA, with her husband Michael and their three children. She plays a 1756 violin made by Francois Gavinies.


Fred and Joan Reynolds and family

Randy Steere and Paul Landry


Camilla Blackman
Bruce and Sue Bonner
Peter and Karen Burk
Barbara and John Chickosky
Priscilla Endicott
Matt and Judy Fichtenbaum family
Phil and Carolyn Francisco
David Gaynor and Bernice Goldman
Bruce Hauben and Joyce Brinton/The Helen G. Hauben Foundation
Mark and Jeanne Hubelbank
Mary Jennings and Jim Simko
Simon Jones and Richard Gioiosa
Bob and Sue Lotz
Carole and Art Prest
Pam and Griff Resor
The Riggert Family
Phil and Dorothy Robbins
Shepherd’s of Townsend
David and Bobbie Spiegelman