Friday, November 20, 2015

BSO Principal Oboist John Ferrillo to Perform

 John Ferrillo
Principal Oboe, Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Concord Band is honored to have John Ferrillo, principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as its soloist for the Holiday Pops concerts on December 11 and 12, 2015. John Ferrillo grew up in Bedford, playing oboe in the concert band of Bedford High School under the Concord Band’s first music director, William M. Toland. Ferrillo will play three numbers for oboe and wind ensemble in his appearance with the Concord Band: Autumn Soliloquy by James Barnes, Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone from the 1986 movie The Mission, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Variations on a Theme by Glinka.

Harvard resident John Ferrillo played oboe in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and attended Curtis Institute. Prior to joining the BSO in 2001, Ferrillo was the principal oboe in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has taught and performed at the Aspen and Waterloo festivals and currently serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, Boston University, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

Ferrillo participated by video in the Concord Band’s tribute to Bill Toland in 2012. At the time, he said he would have loved to attend the tribute concert, but the BSO had a concert that evening as well. In his 5-minute video, Ferrillo talked about the importance of music education in the public schools and the role that Bill Toland played in his own musical life. Ferrillo said that he found a happy home at the music department in Bedford High, with the band room as the center of his life. He noted that Bill Toland had been his first music theory teacher and “gave me a feeling of can do,” which he said is so necessary to succeed in music. Ferrillo said that he also played cymbals and then sousaphone in the Bedford High School marching band, and that he was so taken with selections from West Side Story that he learned the xylophone part for one of Bernstein’s dances in that piece.

At the time of the Toland tribute, John Ferrillo told the Concord Band that he would be happy to play with the Band at some time in the future. Since then, Concord Band Music Director Jim O’Dell and Band president Ken Troup have remained in touch with Ferrillo. The December 11 and 12 concerts will be John Ferrillo’s first appearance as a soloist with a wind ensemble. He said that one of the reasons he had never played with a wind ensemble was that he did not have repertoire that he liked well enough. Ferrillo described the pieces he will play with the Concord Band as “very atmospheric and expressive.”

In 1878, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov wrote the 12 variations for oboe and military band on the song “What a Young Beauty” by Mikhail Glinka while Rimsky-Korsakov was director of Russia’s Navy Bands. James Barnes, composer of the tone poem Autumn Soliloquy and numerous other works for band was born in Oklahoma in 1949 and is a professor of theory and composition at the University of Kansas. Ennio Morricone is an Italian film composer who gained fame for the scores of the Italian westerns, including The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. One of his best known scores was for the film The Mission, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Gabriel’s Oboe is the main theme from the film, most prominently used when the protagonist, the Jesuit Father Gabriel, walks up to a waterfall and starts playing his oboe, aiming to befriend the natives with his music so he can carry out his missionary work in the New World.

At Holiday Pops, the Concord Band will reprise three numbers from its successful Fall Concert: Old Churches, Incantation and Dance, and the last two movements from Carmina Burana. Following John Ferrillo’s oboe solos, the Band will play several holiday medleys, including a Christmas sing-along, as well as William Toland’s arrangement of Auld Lang Syne. There will also be an appearance by a traditional visitor from the North Pole.

Tickets for Concord Band Holiday Pops, which has been a Concord tradition since 1976, are available in tables for four (with a few for six on the stage) at $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12. The 8:00 pm concerts at 51 Walden Street in Concord include free snacks, sparkling cider, water, and soft drinks. Tickets can be ordered through the Concord Band’s phone line 978-897-9969 and at And for additional information on the CB's entire 2015-16 season, visit the group's website Celebrate the season with the Concord Band and BSO oboist John Ferrillo!

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