Music Review: Locked-out Atlanta Symphony musicians take to the stage at Kennesaw State

kennesauLocked-out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under the moniker “ATL Symphony Musicians,” performed a pair of back-to-back free concerts of music by Beethoven and Dvořák in the Bailey Performance Center’s 620-seat Morgan Hall at Kennesaw State University Friday night.

The musicians engaged Michael Palmer to conduct, just as they had for two performances during the relatively brief lockout of 2012. Palmer was selected by Robert Shaw to be assistant, then associate, conductor of the ASO in 1967, as the orchestra was first working toward becoming a full-time professional orchestra. Palmer was with the ASO for 10 years, then became music director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Palmer returned to Atlanta in 2004 to teach at Georgia State University, where he is the Charles Thomas Wurm Distinguished Professor of Orchestral Studies. More prominently, for over 20 years Palmer has been the artistic director of the Bellingham Festival of Music.

ArtsATL attended the first performance at 7 p.m. The capacity audience stood and rendered thunderous applause for the musicians as they came onstage. The concert opened with Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture. The symbolism was hardly lost on those who know Goethe’s play of the same name, for which Beethoven wrote the music.

To read more of critic Mark Gresham’s review, click here.

Mark Gresham writes about classical and post-classical music. A composer and conductor as well as a journalist, he co-founded the monthly publication Chorus! in 1989 and edited it through 1995. A selection of his interviews from the magazine was published in 1997 as a book Choral Conversations. He has written for NewMusicBox, Where Atlanta and Creative Loafing, among others, and in 2003 won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism. His website is

PHOTO: David Caselli

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