It has been said that there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t tell the folks in New Philharmonia that. For 20 years, the 75-member regional orchestra has been covering the classics and creating some new ones. To end their 20th season, the “New Phil” will host Jazz royalty John Pizzarelli and local legend Bo Winiker is a special fundraising show at the First Baptist Church in Newton Centre Friday June 12.
As the son of fellow guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and the brother of bassist Martin (who performs with him and often acts as his “straight man”), John Pizzarelli literally grew up in a musical family- one that he extends with every performance. Known as much for his TV spots for Foxwoods and his “Radio Deluxe” shows (which can be heard on stations across the Commonwealth and the country) as for such acclaimed albums as “John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles,” “Double Exposure,” and his latest – a tribute to Johnny Mercer that was recorded live at New York’s famed Birdland – Pizzarelli combines lightning fast fingers with nearly-as-rapid wit to captivate and charm audiences with his musical understanding and willingness to share it.
As half of the Winiker Brothers, Bo has played and conducted at every major venue from the Boston Garden to Symphony Hall to the White House and performed and recorded with his brother Bill and other area greats (including Gunther Schuller and repeat visitor Billy Joel) for decades.
“I have soloed with the orchestra several times in the past and I’ve always had a great rapport with the members of the New Philharmonia,” Winiker explains. As for how he came to conduct, he notes the passing of long-time leader, Ron Knudsen, and explains that Knudsen’s wife personally invited him to both play and conduct for this special season-ending fundraising show.
No matter if he is in the orchestra or in front of it, Winiker says he loves being involved with New Phil. “The members of this fine community orchestra come from all walks of life,” he observes, citing among its ranks former music teachers, music school graduates, and just enthusiastic players who have other careers but never lost their love of classical music. “It is a truly diverse musical group that span from teenagers to octogenarians- all sharing a great appreciation of performing in a symphony orchestra.”
Though this area is especially blessed with many community choruses and orchestras, Winiker maintains that each one is unique and vital and encourages music fans from all walks of life to come to this show and support this great organization.
“The community orchestras are so important because they bring a high level of music right into the community,” he suggests, “and they also provide an outlet for talented musicians to continue honing their craft.”
Winiker attributes the success of the New Phil in great part to the leadership of Knudsen. “Ron Knudsen was a gifted and remarkable violinist and conductor,” Winiker recalls. “He had the uncanny ability of taking musicians of every level and shaping them into a top-notch orchestra. The orchestra members loved working with him and he was a tremendous gift to the Newton musical community for many years.”
What makes this show all the more special for Winiker is the opportunity to play not only with the New Phil but with Pizzarelli as well.
“It is a great honor and privilege for me to work with the orchestra again,” he says, “and I am also thrilled to be working with John Pizarelli and his band.”
Starts at: 8. Tickets range from $35-100 and can be purchased at website below. A limited number of $500 VIP tickets will also be available; they will include “Pizza With Pizzarelli” reception after the concert with pizza and fine Italian wines.
– Matt Robinson
848 Beacon St., Newton, 617-527-9717 www.newphil.org