Antione Hackney, Violin

For the past few months, Antione Hackney, a viola player with the FIM Flint Symphony Orchestra, has immersed himself in the enchanting melodies of Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” the breathtaking sounds of Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” and the innovative notes of Richard Ratner’s Violin Concerto. His preparation for the upcoming Nov. 18 FSO concert involves more than just practice; it’s about making this music an integral part of his being.

As he puts it, “I listen to it so much that it becomes a part of me. And then when I go to practice it, I know exactly what I’m trying to accomplish before I spend the time working on it. The result is excellence!”

With 35 years of experience as a viola player, Hackney currently performs not only with FSO but also with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. For him, this is a dream come true, especially when playing for Maestro Enrique Diemecke. He admires Diemecke’s ability to uncover new dimensions in music, whether by exploring uncharted territories or reviving forgotten performance nuances.

“Playing with Maestro deepens my understanding of music,” says Hackney.

Hackney’s enthusiasm for the Nov. 18 FSO concert is palpable. He’ll be performing in all three pieces featured that evening and will also lead the free preview talk Inside the Music. an hour before the concert. Hackney encourages everyone to attend, promising insights beyond the program notes. He intends to share not just the music but also intriguing details about the composers’ lives, making the experience more personal and relatable.

He’s particularly excited about Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” a piece he says is “practically a staple in every orchestra’s repertoire. The lively and spirited orchestral composition never fails to captivate audiences with its playful and whimsical journey through various instruments, creating a rich and dynamic tapestry of sound.”

Similarly, Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” transports listeners on a vivid musical expedition through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Grand Canyon. It’s a colorful and evocative masterpiece that paints a sonic portrait of this natural wonder.

Sirena Huang, Violin

Lastly, Richard Ratner’s Violin Concerto, making its world premiere, adds a contemporary twist to the classical form. Hackney believes it will be another highlight of the evening.

To top off this extraordinary concert, the gold medal winner of the 2022 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Sirena Huang, will grace the stage. With accolades from The Baltimore Sun for her impeccable technique, expressive phrasing, and poetic weight, Sirena Huang is celebrated as one of her generation’s most remarkable violinists.

The November concert promises to be a night of musical magic and discovery, where audiences can share in the joy and passion that Maestro Diemecke and his fellow FSO musicians bring to life on stage.