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Spartanburg Philharmonic celebrates its 90th season and Maestro Stefan Sanders takes the podium as new Music Director

September 06, 2018 | Press Releases

Date: September 6, 2018
Rachel Hansen
SPARTANBURG, SC (September 6, 2018) – The Spartanburg Philharmonic begins its 2018-2019 season celebrating its 90th anniversary and its new Music Director, Stefan Sanders. The 90th Season Celebration concert will be held on Saturday, September 29 at Twichell Auditorium from 7 pm to 9 pm followed by an after-party where ticket holders can join the Philharmonic’s Board, Staff and Musicians in Wilson Hall to toast and celebrate the Philharmonic’s history. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at, by telephone (864.596.9724), or in person at Twichell Box Office, located in Wilson Hall at Converse College.
The Philharmonic is thrilled to welcome Stefan Sanders back to the podium but this time as its newly named Music Director. Sanders conducted in September last year as the first of three finalists to audition for Project Maestro: The Search for a New Conductor. In March of 2018, Sanders was named the winner of The Search and soon after, announced that he would be making Spartanburg his home.
“It is my great honor to begin this season as the new Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic. This community has received my lovely wife and I with open arms. We are feeling very proud to now call ourselves Spartanburgers!”
It is an exciting time in the history of the Philharmonic as it launched its new name, logo and the announcement of Sanders’ leadership at the end of last season. This season, it celebrates 90 years of music as the oldest performing arts organization in Spartanburg, with the continuation of 3 Classics concerts, 4 Espresso concerts, 4 Bluegrass concerts, a Pops concert, and the unveiling of the 10th sign on the Spartanburg Music Trail. With a record-breaking number of subscriptions, musicians, staff, and patrons new and old are gearing up for an exciting season ahead.
Teachers and youth under 22 years of age will receive 50% off for all Classics concerts. Classical Conversations will resume with Dr. Chris Vaneman, Director of the Petrie School of Music, and Maestro Stefan Sanders at 6 pm in the concert hall.
The first program this season will feature two works written 90 years ago: Maurice Ravel’s Bolero and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. “I am so excited for our 90th Anniversary to begin! We can’t wait to perform these beloved works and to celebrate the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s rich history with each of you this season,” says Sanders who programmed this concert with the 90th in mind. The program includes Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture, an intentional program opener as a nod to what would have been Bernstein’s 100th birthday this year. Ravel’s La Valse concludes the first half of the program and Gershwin’s jazzy Rhapsody in Blue featuring world-renowned South African pianist, Anton Nel, will begin the second half.
“Anton is a tremendous artist with whom I have truly enjoyed making music within the past and we are thrilled to be able to bring him to Spartanburg. His Rhapsody in Blue is absolutely stunning,” says Sanders. Nel, an avid foodie and Scrabble player is thrilled to be collaborating with Sanders for the third time. “The Rhapsody is SUCH fun to play and I’m excited to perform it again. It’s a classic piece of Americana and the writing for the piano is brilliant and rewarding. The audience will instantly recognize the famous clarinet opening; the part I always wait for is the “Big Tune” played by the orchestra about two thirds of the way through (it sounds a bit like Tchaikovsky and has been used as a “signature tune” for many organizations/companies including United Airlines).”
If you have never been to the Philharmonic, this is certainly the perfect program for your first visit. From fun jazzy tunes to rich orchestration and elaborate piano techniques, this concert has something for everyone.
About Spartanburg Philharmonic
The Spartanburg Philharmonic’s mission is to enrich, inspire and educate through live performances of high-quality music.  Founded in 1948, the Spartanburg Philharmonic is comprised of professional musicians from diverse backgrounds who form an ensemble capable of performing a variety of musical styles and repertoire. This year, we celebrate our 90th anniversary season.

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