Press Releases

Purchase Symphony Orchestra Season Begins Oct. 9

Date Released: 9/23/2009

Maestro Michael Adelson conducts Ives, Brahms, and Bartok at The Performing Arts Center. His first season as the new conductor.

Maestro Michael Adelson will conduct the Purchase Symphony Orchestra (PSO) on October 9 at 8 PM in The Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 914-251-6200 or online at


This is Adelson’s first season as the new conductor of the Purchase Symphony Orchestra.  He was a guest conductor at several concerts last year.


The orchestra will perform Ives: The Unanswered Question, Bartok’s: Dance Suite, and Brahms: Symphony no. 2.


Purchase College is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY.


Michael Adelson is a conductor, composer, writer and educator who is currently on the conducting staff of the New York Philharmonic.  He made his first appearance with a major American Orchestra in 1992, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  He has also conducted the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, and many other ensembles in Europe and America.  Equally at home in the opera house, Mr. Adelson has conducted Scandinavian productions of Turandot, La Boheme, and in Stockholm, the world premiere of Qu Xiao-Song’s Oedipus.


He is deeply committed to music of our time, having worked with composers such as Pierre Boulez, Bernard Rands, Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg and others.  He frequently guest conducts other new music ensembles and his own works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic as well as other ensembles and soloists worldwide. He is a founding member of the Present Eye, an organization dedicated to experimental music and art.


Mr. Adelson regularly leads workshops in conducting and orchestral technique for educators, and college and pre-college musicians sponsored by the New York Philharmonic.  He has written and conducted young people’s concerts with the New York, Helsinki and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras.  He has written and lectured widely on topics as diverse as the links between mathematics and music, the divide between science and religion, critical thinking, great historical cities as centers of culture, and twentieth-century art history.  He is currently writing a book for non-musicians on the nature and art of conducting. 


Michael Adelson studied at the New England Conservatory, the Mannes College of Music, and graduated summa cum laude from Jorma Panula’s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.


Conductor’s program notes for the first concert:





This is an evening of beginnings: the beginning of a new academic year, the beginning of the Purchase Symphony Orchestra's 2009-2010 concert season, and my first concert as Music Director of the Orchestra.


For us, this is a tremendously exciting time. Possibility is in the air. So many musical adventures lie ahead, so much voltage is in the rehearsal room. The music seems to roar off the page, straight into our ears, hearts, brains, lungs and fingers. We are so glad to be able to share this with you.


We hope you will join us for the rest of our season, too. In November we will devote an evening to honoring the 200th anniversary of the death of Haydn - that great musical radical who pretty much invented the symphony as we know it. The program will also feature Ching-Ping Wang and Phillip Gallo, the winners of the 2008 PSO Concerto Competition.  Later that month we will join forces with the Purchase Conservatory of Dance for performances of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker". In the new year we will bring you an exploration of Finnish music old and new, a program of musical landmarks from 1911 (a year of volcanic artistic creativity), and Hugh Murphy, Principal Conductor Voice and Opera Department will conduct a production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute". Exciting times, indeed.


For this first program, I had no didactic agenda in selecting the music; no predetermined scheme. I simply wanted our first concert together to be a celebration. I followed my instincts and chose pieces that I deeply love, and that I knew the orchestra would love too.


The ethereal, ritualistic solemnity of Charles Ives's "The Unanswered Question", Bartók's earthy "Dance Suite" and Brahms's expansive, glowing Second Symphony - this music covers a huge stylistic range. Imagine my astonishment then, to realize that these works were all composed within a period of forty-six years. By being in the right place at the right time, a middle-aged man or woman could have heard the genesis of all three.


What a radical, provocative, and utterly necessary thing music is! Long live beginnings!


Michael Adelson

Music Director,

Purchase Symphony Orchestra






Friday, Oct. 9, 8 pm:


Ives: The Unanswered Question

Bartók: Dance Suite

Brahms: Symphony no. 2


Friday, Nov. 20, 8 pm:


Haydn: Symphony no. 39 in g-minor

Koppel: Toccata for Vibraphone, Marimba, and orchestra.  Ching-Ping Wang, vibraphone and Phillip Gallo, marimba (winners of the PSO Concerto Competition)

Haydn: Symphony no. 103 in E flat major "Drumroll"


Friday, Dec. 4, 7:15 pm

Saturday, Dec. 5: two performances (2 pm and 7 pm) Sunday, Dec. 6: two performances (1 pm and 5 pm)

Tchaikovsky: "THE NUTCRACKER"

(complete ballet). Collaboration with the Conservatory of Dance


Friday, Feb. 19, 8 pm:


program to include:

Magnus Lindberg: Marea

Sibelius: Symphony no. 5


Monday, Mar. 22, 8 pm:


Debussy: Syrinx

Schoenberg: 5 Pieces for Orchestra

Stravinsky: Petrushka


Purchase Opera Production


Th, Apr. 22: 8 pm

Fr, Apr. 23:  8 pm

Sa, Apr. 24:  8 pm

Su, Apr. 25: matinee, 2 pm

Hugh Murphy, conductor