Many years ago, I had been in contact with the South Dakota Symphony. I had heard very nice things about their conductor, Henry Charles Smith. Although we had not had the pleasure to work together, I was able to connect with their current music director, Delta David Gier. I initially met Maestro Gier in Bridgeport, CT, when he was assisting his teacher, Gustav Meier. We kept our contacts up, and when it came time to approach orchestras and conductors to join the Lowell Liebermann Third Piano Concerto consortium, David was a natural fit.
The South Dakota Symphony has grown enormously from what they have shared with me. Their Executive Director, Tom Bennett, is a very experienced executive director and a really nice fellow, who has helped to raise this orchestra to new heights throughout the city, along with David in his musical aspirations. I had the special pleasure to get to know Mary Sommervold. Mary has helped enormously to bring the orchestra where it is today. The relatively new Washington Pavilion, is quite a stunning hall. Native quartz rock juxtaposing woods create a wonderful ambience along with purple seating. A former high school, they dug out the center of this building, added two stories and made it soundproof from the rest of the building. The orchestra has excellent musicians, and David has been able to maintain their excellence with standard repertoire, and introduce new works to the orchestra and the community. Sioux Falls is quite a lovely city, with some wonderful sculptures adorning the streets.
I am eagerly awaiting our performances this evening and tomorrow, and will report about it shortly thereafter.