By ELIZABETH OGUSS
For anyone out of sorts after being cheated of an hour that morning, Sunday afternoon’s Montclair Orchestra concert was rich repayment. Two hours in the company of conductor David Chan and the orchestra was a treat in every way.
The concert was titled “Lyric,” in memory of the composer George Walker, who died in August 2018. Among his many honors, Walker, a longtime Montclair resident, was the first black composer to receive a Pulitzer Prize in music, and the second half of the program featured his “Lyric for Strings,” composed in 1946 and introduced by his son Gregory Walker, also a composer.
In his remarks, Gregory Walker spoke of Montclair as a magical place, and it was easy to think so in Central Presbyterian Church’s serenely beautiful 97-year-old sanctuary. The church was filled to the balconies with an all-ages crowd, the music was gorgeous, and nobody coughed.
The program opened with Nonet II (2000) by Olli Mustonen, followed by Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. Innhyuck Cho, principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, received an immediate standing ovation for his electrifying playing. The concert ended with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.
Montclair Orchestra will conclude its 2018-19 season on April 28 with “French Connection,” featuring the music of Haydn, Berlioz and Bizet, with soloist baritone Yunpeng Wang. For details, go to montclairorchestra.org.