‘Connected to the Community:’ Music Energizes Perrysburg Symphony Conductor | A&E



PERRYSBURG – Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor Travis Jürgens brings a wide variety of musical experiences to the organization.

The orchestra celebrated its 60th anniversary with a concert on October 22 and has a comprehensive list of new events that exemplify the variety of its skills and experience. The music ranges from the bedroom to the ballet – and an ESPN Halloween special that aired on “Monday Night Football” during the 2011 season.

“I think making music gives me more energy. I feel more comfortable doing music, ”said Jürgens. “When I conduct an orchestra, I feel like I’m there and that energizes me. It’s very enriching for me. Playing the piano and conducting a choir, the whole variety is very refreshing. I have a lot of variety in the music I make.

He was hired in July 2018, after leading guests in 2016. Since hiring he has expanded the number and variety of events they play.

“Live music is so important to a community. It really is a way to strengthen the bonds in the community and to bring us closer, to really nourish souls with live music, ”said Jürgens. “It’s really a beautiful thing to see live music, because often times these can be superior to the best recordings. You can record it, but when you hear it live, it really is a different experience.

The first of the changes added was the three-month chamber orchestra series that begins in January.

“We are able to reach more of the community, to offer more live music and to make musicians perform more regularly,” Jürgens said of why the Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra is important. and different.

A new solo competition for high school students is also added. They submit a video for the first entry, then the finalists perform in front of a jury in February, with the winner performing with the full orchestra in April.

They also have concerts side by side with the Perrysburg Junior High Orchestra. The last one was in 2019 and they will resume in 2022.

“The main thing that makes us different is that we are connected to the community. The Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra or large ensemble in Perrysburg, so the community truly owns it. We are very careful to schedule events that do not conflict with other programs, like the Toledo Performing Arts Center, ”he said. “We have different types of programs and engagements and different types of soloists. “

This is not the only work of Jürgens.

“I spend a lot of time on the road,” he says.

He is also the director of the music ministry at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, the largest Catholic parish in the Diocese of Cleveland. Her two sons, aged 6 and 8, sing in their children’s choir.

“With 10,000 members, it’s a large parish. There are several masses every weekend, plus… a lot of weddings and funerals – that keeps me busy, ”Jürgens said.

He is a choirmaster, pianist and organist. They use more contemporary music, so there is more piano than organ. They also have hand bells and a youth choir. They have conductors specific to these groups, but he also replaces them.

Jürgens pushes the Perrysburg Symphony to be creative, as a group. The symphony will collaborate with the Perrysburg Chorale and perform the anthem “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi on December 17th at 7:30 pm at Perrysburg Junior High.

It’s not the first time he’s done a great multi-group collaboration.

“I conducted other choirs and orchestras, when I was musical director of other orchestras, like the Kansas City Philharmonia. I stayed there for six years. We did Beethoven’s 9th.

He also collaborated several times during his five years with the Ohio Northern University Symphony Orchestra.

Jürgens has a vast musical education. He received his BA in Piano Performance from Indiana University, his MA in Conducting from the University of Illinois, and an Artist’s Diploma in Conducting from the University of Denver. . He also studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien and at the Institut für Europäishe Studien in Vienna, Austria.

The Perrysburg Symphony generally has four major shows a year. In 2021, their first in-person, full-audience event of the year took place on July 4 at Levis Commons, followed by the Toledo Zoo Music Under the Stars event in August. They are expected to do these events again next year.

Following the December concert with the chorale, there will be the series of three chamber music concerts in January, February and March, followed by the season finale.

During the pandemic, the performance continued, with a little creativity.

“We actually found a way to continue during the pandemic, in a safe and responsible manner. We had a few live concerts, and we also had a chamber concert and we did the socially distanced April concert with masks to a limited audience, but broadcast live, and another similar chamber concert in May, ”said Jürgens. “So we were able to move the train forward. “



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