The Robert Frost Auditorium saw both a performance and an audition on Saturday, Feb.11, 2023 as conductor Clyde Mitchell stepped up to the podium to showcase his skills. The role of orchestra conductor long held by the late Frank Fetta is soon to be filled by a new maestro, and Mitchell was there to show how he would do it.
Mitchell has been the resident conductor of the Vancouver Symphony for nine seasons, and has been a guest conductor for both the Toronto and Montreal Symphonies as well. He is currently the Music Director of the Lions Gate Sinfonia and Youth Orchestra in North Vancouver, Canada.
The program opened with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake suite, and gave the orchestra a great start with Mitchell. He also brought the audience in with some information and anecdotes, putting a few laughs into the sound track.
The Parness Piano winner from 2019, Abriana Church, was finally given her chance to play with the orchestra after many COVID forced cancellations, and her performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was so revelatory, the audience gave her a standing ovation that last more than six minutes.
After intermission, the orchestra closed the evening with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” showing Mitchell’s range and enthusiasm, and a light ‘dessert’ of a theme from Brahms had the theater filled with patrons clapping in time with the orchestra.
While there are still others vying for the position, Mitchell was a delightful guest who may well find himself invited to return for the next season.