Brahms Symphony No. 4 Highlights North Shore Philharmonic Concert

Special to the Times-Free Press

The North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra will honor the memory of one of its most beloved and longstanding members, clarinetist Murray Burnstine, when Music Director Robert Lehmann conducts the NSPO in its Fall concert to begin the 2023-2024 season on Sunday, November 19, 3:00 p.m. at Swampscott High School.

The “Murray Burnstine Memorial Concert” program includes Johannes Brahms brilliant Fourth Symphony and music of French composers Gabriel Faure and Cecile Chaminade, with flutist Lisa Hennessy as guest soloist in Chaminade’s “Concertino for Flute.”

Flutist Lisa Hennessy.
Music Director Robert Lehmann.

Burnstine, who played clarinet with the NSPO for nearly 30 years, died in June at the age of 94. “Murray was self-deprecating and easy going, with a dry sense of humor, yet fiercely dedicated to his music,” said Music Director Lehmann. “He was an experienced, veteran player in many genres, always up for something challenging and new and he loved making music with his colleagues.”

Lehmann touted the concert program. “French and German music have aesthetically been at opposite ends of the musical spectrum in terms of concept French compositional style,” he said. “Faure’s Masques et Bergamasques epitomizes this sensibility in that it pays homage to France’s rich musical and literary heritage. Brahms, on the other hand, was expected to represent tZe traditional Teutonic world of rich, heavy and ‘learned’ compositional elements.”  Lehmann noted, though, that Brahms “…slyly pays homage to the same “Classical” elements while pushing the limits of what could be accomplished in developing a whole 45 minute symphony from one strand of musical DNA.”

Soloist Lisa Hennessy Lisa Hennessy has been principal flutist of the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 2000. She is also principal flutist with the Boston Ballet Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and performs regularly with Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Pops, Rhode Island Philharmonic, among others. She will play the demanding flute concertino by Cecile Chaminade, one of the composer’s most famous works.  According to an article in, legend has it that Chaminade wrote the piece for an ex-lover that played the flute, intending to make it so difficult that he would mess up in performance and embarrass himself.

This year marks the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra’s 75th concert season. Staffed largely by volunteer players, the NSPO is committed to providing access to quality music at an affordable price to communities north of Boston.  The Orchestra strives to develop, train and provide opportunities for young and amateur musicians, while providing a large range of programs covering the full range of symphonic and pops repertoire for a diverse public. For full concert information, visit or contact [email protected].

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