Newsletter September 2021

The Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra have been busy in our community over the past month, performing music for blood donors at the American Red Cross of Indiana’s Knock out the Need event at the Phoenix Theater. You may have also seen us at the Indianapolis Arts Council’s Start With Art benefit event at the JW Marriott downtown or at Christ Church Cathedral’s Strawberry Festival.

We are pleased to be able to connect to our community, and we want to make everyone aware of an event coming up, as Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana will host a grand reopening of their food pantry on Wednesday, September 15th.

After a year and a half of drive-thru distribution, Gleaners will open their food pantry to indoor distribution. Members of the ISO horn section will provide an opening fanfare at 9:30 AM as well as additional music at 10:00 when the doors reopen.

Musicians of the ISO have volunteered periodically over the past two years to help with drive thru food distribution, and we are excited to once again partner with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana as they continue to help feed the hungry in Central Indiana.

If you’d like to donate to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, visit and click the Donate button.

Note that the images below were taken in February of 2020, prior to the widespread adoption of masking!

Have you ever met our super-fan Frances Heavren? Chances are, even if you haven’t met her, you’ve seen her at a number of events featuring Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. We’re beginning a semi-regular feature across our website and social media channels where we highlight her devotion to our performances.

This month, we provide a short biography about Frances in which she describes more about herself and what our music means to her:

Frances says the absence of live music during the pandemic was difficult. “The lack of it was felt by all.” In the Summer of 2020, Frances and her friends started attending driveway concerts and other chamber performances presented by the Musicians of the ISO. She believes she has attended over 40 of these programs.

“Those concerts have been a lifesaver for those of us who follow the orchestra. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Read the full story here!

And look for Frances at some of our upcoming performances, many of which can be found at the upcoming concerts section of our website.

Did you know that every orchestra has an entire library devoted to just the music that ends up on our stands? There are seemingly endless stacks of music backstage that our librarians are continually preparing for us each week.

The social-distancing ritual that we are all now accustomed to created a huge logistical challenge for orchestras performing indoors, as we no longer could all fit on stage at the same time! And our librarians answered that challenge with plenty of innovative solutions, as Assistant Orchestra Librarian Laura Cones describes:

String players were reduced by at least half so that one player would be on each stand, instead of the usual two. This meant that we had to check every part to make sure that page turns worked well – we can’t have an entire section stop playing just to turn a page! Occasionally the players might end up with three pages open at once before there was a good place to make a turn...

Read Laura’s full Covid Diary here.

Following our discussion of Ternary Form last month, we present a discussion of Sonata form, a favorite of composers from Haydn to Copland:

Sonata form (sometimes called Sonata-Allegro form) appears not only in instrumental sonatas, but is also the standard format for the first (and sometimes the last) movements of symphonies, concertos, and much chamber music. Therefore it enhances music listening to understand this ubiquitous formal scheme.

Follow this link for the full discussion (and to understand why there’s a picture of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman with a line of mashed up cookies)

Finally, Terry Langdon, a forty-year veteran of the viola section, having played the standard repertoire many times over, noted recently that the upcoming season contains a lot of new music that she had never heard before. From there, she offered to share how she prepares and learns about music that is new to her.

The orchestra’s 2021-22 classical repertoire includes many works from off the beaten track in its voyage around the world. Thorough studies and great program notes already exist for music which is heard more often in our hall, but it is the compositions unfamiliar to me after more than forty years of orchestral playing that I want to write about. Just when I thought I knew most of the orchestral repertoire, this is an opportunity for me expand and explore with renewed intensity.

Read Terry’s description of our first subscription concert in the full story here