Published Friday, November 16, 2012
By MARIANNE THOMASSON
The Atlanta Pops Orchestra presented a program ranging from classical to country Sunday at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan.
Sponsored by the Centre and the Centre Patrons, the orchestra was conducted by a Georgia man, Dr. Jason Altieri, who is currently director of orchestras at the University of Nevada and associate conductor for the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, he was appointed music director and conductor of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra a year ago and is its third conductor in 65 years.
The concert opened with the “Light Calvary Overture” by Suppe. Altieri described the piece as one that “pops up in cartoons and movies.”
In honor of Veterans Day, his next selection was “Strike Up the Band” by Gershwin/ Whitney and featured the hymns of all the armed forces. “You’ve got to have a little Gershwin,” he said, adding that many of the works performed Sunday were by the “godfathers of Broadway plays.”
The “Toreador Song” from “Carmen” featured a tuba solo by Bernard Flythe. The march from “Karelia Suite” by Finland national hero Jean Sibelius followed. A medley of “Pirates of the Caribbean” has become very famous,” Altieri commented.
Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” and “American in Paris” by Gershwin/Whitney rounded out the first part of the concert.
“Chicago” from the musical of the same name featured Lee King in a trumpet solo and a haunting arrangement of “Solitude” by Duke Ellington and M. Gould opened the second part of the show with Altieri sporting red satin britches. W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues” and Bowman’s “12th Street Rag” were next.
A “Country Jubilee” medley featured a fistful of artists including Floyd Cramer, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.
A Brahms number, “Hungarian Dance No. 6,” led into “Lord of the Dance” and two standing ovations.
Altieri is a graduate of Briarcliff High school in Atlanta and received a bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of West Georgia. While pursuing advanced degrees in conducting from Michigan State University, he not only served as assistant conductor for the orchestra program, but was also the conductor of the Opera Theatre Program and had additional studies with Neeme Jarvi of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Gustav Meier of the Peabody Conservatory. He received his DMA from Michigan State and has resided in Reno, Nev., since 2008.
Altieri has had regular touring engagements with the new Sigmund Romberg Orchestra and the Hollywood Film Orchestra.
In addition to his orchestral work, he is also an accomplished conductor of opera. He was engaged by London’s Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company to lead them on three North American tours. He was also the associate music director for the Ohio Light Opera Company in the summer of 2006. In 2002, Altieri was chosen to study with Valery Valchev of the National Bulgarian Opera, which led to guest conducting engagements of La Traviata, III Trovatore, and Rigoletto in the Czech Republic.
Upcoming Events at Centre
• The Nutcracker Ballet will be performed by the Southern Crescent Academy of Dance Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.
• The Band of the U. S. Air Force Reserve will be ringing in the holidays with a concert Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
• The Centre Strings holiday performance will be Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
• The Centre is open to the public all day during the week and is featuring an exhibit of photos of presidents by George Tames this month.
The collection is noted for displaying what the presidency is like for a mere human to hold.