A&I Closes As Symphony Meets Circus

New Haven Independent

As New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO) Maestro William Boughton drew the first airy strains of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the symphony, a flick of his fingers catching in the light, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye that he hadn’t seen before when running through the piece.

At center stage, another maestro had appeared, scanning the stage for possible boxes and crates on which to balance before a swelling, giggling audience. Already there had been a contortionist, pretzeling herself high above the stage, a great wheel in which a figure spun and balanced wildly. Perhaps, Boughton and the symphony had thought, that was enough excitement for the evening. But there he stood, arms outstretched, feet sure, as he began a series of balances that had the audience — if not also the musicians — at the edge of its seats.

In a dazzling dovetail of classical and contemporary, formal and flamboyant, local and not, the NHSO and New York-based Cirque Mechanics closed out this year’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas Saturday night doing what the symphony perhaps do best: Having a ton of fun with music, and bringing it back to the public. Held as a free event on the New Haven Green, the performance drew over 12,000, a crowd stretching from the stage all the way back to Chapel Street.

His smile, stretching across his face, flashed once before the audience. This is how music, he seemed to say, ought to be performed all the time.

Read the rest of the review here