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Symphoria wants to be accessible to public in new season

The Symphoria Orchestra.

Symphoria, a cooperative orchestra in central New York where the musicians are the owners, announced its new 2015-16 season. And, with the upcoming season, Symphoria's new music director is focused on making the orchestra more accessible to the public.

As orchestras in major cities across the country experience declining ticket sales, Syracuse's Symphoria is ahead of track on their subscription sales for next season. Larry Loh, who will officially begin as the music director of Symphoria this fall, admits growing an audience for the orchestra is challenging.

“You can't just be up there on the stage and just expect people to be out there in the audience and just accept what you do. It has to be a much more interactive and humanizing relationship where we have more direct connection between audience and orchestra,” Loh said.

That's why Symphoria features pops performances, which will include music from Disney and Star Wars movies, and a cirque-style show with aerial acrobats and jugglers.

Loh says due to cuts in musical education in schools, the orchestra also needs to educate the community and wants conductors to explain to the audience what is going on at each concert.

Credit ExperienceSymphoria.org
Larwrence Loh is the musical director of Symphoria for its 2015-16 season.

“Our young people don't necessarily grow up learning about the great works of art that has survived many, many hundreds of years,” Loh said.

Symphoria will open its 2015-16 season with twin pianists, Christina and Michelle Naughton, and the orchestra playing French masterpieces at the Crouse-Hinds Concert Theater on September 12.

Loh says one of his goals is for the orchestra to become more accessible to the public by playing in smaller settings and interacting with the musicians.

“And then when you see them on the big stage, you know a lot more of the musicians from sitting closer to them or hearing them speak and we hope that that will just continue to break down barriers,” he said.

There will also be free and family-orients events on the orchestra’s calendar.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.