Animal Adventures

Animal Adventures

Sunday, March 2 @3:00 PM
Mechanics Hall
321 Main Street, Worcester

Mechanics Hall comes alive with the voices of a wolf, a boy, a cat, a duck, and a bird in Prokofiev’s beloved story of Peter and the Wolf, followed by delightful depictions of a catalogue of fantastical beasts in Saint-Saën’s Carnival of the Animals. Artwork by local schoolchildren, a meet and greet with the musicians, and refreshments round out the multisensory experience of our always popular Family Concert.

Ptyor Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Peter and the Wolf ♦ listen

Camille Saint-Saëns
Carnival of the Animals ♦ listen

With guests
Orlando Cela, conductor / William Kirkley, clarinet / Denise Plaza Martin, oboe / Clark Matthews, French horn / Adrian Jojatu, bassoon / Lilit Hartunian, violin / Robert Schulz, percussion

Free admission, tickets are required

Tracy Kraus, flute
Peter Sulski, violin

Mark Berger,  viola
Ariana Falk, cello
Randall Hodgkinson, piano

Narrated by Rohan Gregory

Guest Artists

Orlando Cela, conductorVenezuelan born flutist and conductor Orlando Cela is known for his engaging performances using imaginative programming of diverse repertoire. His eclectic recitals regularly include contemporary works using extended techniques and electronics, programmed alongside his own arrangements of rarely heard 19th century works or traditional folk music from China and beyond. In concerts, Mr. Cela regularly offers short lively introductions to selected works, offering audiences through lines for enhancing their experience. 

As a conductor, he serves as the Music Director of the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, which he also founded. For nine years, he was the music director of the North Carolina Governor’s School; he has also guest conducted the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the London Classical Soloists, the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, Dinosaur Annex, Sound Icon, and others. He created the Ningbo Symphony Orchestra during his year as visiting professor at Ningbo University, in China. Orlando has received the American Prize for conducting youth and community orchestras, the Vytautas Marijosius Prize for orchestral programming, and the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in the performance of American music. His interpretation of Beethoven’s Symphonies 7 and 8 with the London Classical Soloists earned him a second prize in their competition.


Lilit Hartunian | violinViolinist Lilit Hartunian performs at the forefront of contemporary music innovation, both as soloist and highly in-demand collaborative artist. First prize winner in the 2021 Black House Collective New Music Soloist Competition, Ms. Hartunian’s “Paganiniesque virtuosity” and “captivating and luxurious tone” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) are frequently on display at the major concert halls of Boston, including multiple solo performances at Jordan Hall and chamber music at Symphony Hall (Boston Symphony Orchestra Insights Series), as well as at leading academic institutions, where she often appears as both soloist and new music specialist. Highlights from the 2023 season include concerts with A Far Cry at The Kennedy Center, Boston Modern Orchestra Project at Carnegie Hall, a performance of Ligeti’s Horn Trio for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s celebration of Ligeti’s 100th birthday, as well as the release of an album featuring A Far Cry, Roomful of Teeth, and pianist Awadagin Pratt and the launch of a new violin and cimbalom duo, Lamnth. Described as “brilliantly rhapsodic” by the Harvard Crimson, Ms. Hartunian can be heard on New Focus Records, Innova Recording, SEAMUS records, New Amsterdam Records, and on self-released albums by Ludovico Ensemble and Kirsten Volness. As collaborative artist and ensemble musician, Ms. Hartunian regularly performs with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, A Far Cry, Sound Icon, Emmanuel Music, Callithumpian Consort, Guerilla Opera, and Ludovico Ensemble, and recently performed as guest artist with the Lydian Quartet, Arneis Quartet, and The Rhythm Method. For recordings, photos, and news, visit


Adrian Jojatu, bassoonBorn in Bucharest, Romania, Adrian Jojatu studied bassoon at the George Enescu School of Music. In 1982, 1984, and 1985 he won the 1st prize at the woodwind Romanian national competitions. In 1989 was appointed assistant principal bassoon at the Radio Orchestra and TV, Bucharest, Romania. In 1991 he received full scholarship at Boston University for Master degree in bassoon performance. He is the founder of the Mozarteum quartet and in 1995 and 2001 was the winner of the concerto competition at Boston University, the only woodwind player to twice win this competition. Since 1993 he has performed with many classical ensembles in the Boston area and New England such as Boston Classical, BMOP, Boston Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic Cantata Singers, Spectrum Singers, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, Boston Pops, and Boston Symphony. Between 2005-2008 he was appointed principal bassoon of the State Symphony of Mexico, Enrique Batiz director. Mr. Jojatu is a great admirer of Mozart’s music and enjoys cycling, tennis, and soccer.


Bill Kirkley, clarinetWilliam Kirkley is in demand as an orchestral musician, recitalist, and chamber performer, and his playing has been labeled “emotional, committed, and intensely exciting” by the Boston Globe. The Boston Musical Intelligencer called him “a musician in total command of his instrument.”

Bill’s orchestral playing has been heard in some of the world’s great concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Symphony Hall Boston, Orchestra Hall Chicago, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London. He is principal clarinetist and one of the founders of the Lexington Symphony, principal clarinetist of Cape Ann Symphony, solo bass clarinetist with Orchestra of Indian Hill and the Albany Symphony. As a guest clarinetist, he can often be heard performing with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, and City Ballet in NYC.

Bill is sought out as a concerto soloist and has been featured with the North Arkansas Symphony, Mesquite Symphony, North Shore Philharmonic, Gordon Symphony, Cape Ann Symphony, and the Lexington Symphony. He has recorded extensively on such labels as CRI, SEAMUS, New World, Albany, Naxos, and Centaur. His playing has been heard on WGBH Boston and the BBC from London. If you play SimCity BuildIt! you’ve heard his playing behind the game.

A performer dedicated to educating, Bill has served on the music faculties of University of Southwestern Louisiana, Brandeis University, UMass Boston, and is currently on the music faculties of Gordon College, Berklee College of Music, the College of the Holy Cross, and Indian Hill Music. Bill attended the University of Arkansas, Northwestern University and Southern Methodist University, where his major teachers were Robert Marcellus, Anthony Gigliotti, and Robert Umiker.

Bill is an avid lover of the outdoors, and lives in New Hampshire with his adorable Scottie Dogs.


Clark Matthews | french hornHailed for his “Rich, velvety tone”, French hornist, Clark Matthews has been a fixture in the New England musical landscape since 2007.  Serving as principal hornist of the Cape Symphony and interim principal hornist of Symphony New Hampshire, Mr. Matthews can also be heard regularly appearing with the Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera. His forays into contemporary music include numerous recordings under the Boston Modern Orchestra Project label.

Mr. Matthews can also be heard regularly performing at the Emmanuel Church of Boston, on the Bach Cantata series. Chamber music and solo performance affiliations include Walden Chamber Players and the Meeting House chamber music series. Outside of musical performance, Mr. Matthews serves on New England Musicians Relief Fund board and the executive board for the Boston Musicians Association.


Denise Plaza-Martin | oboeDenise Plaza-Martin, oboe, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory. She is a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Hilltop Oboe Trio. After teaching Oboe/English horn at Rhode Island College for 20 plus years, she retired in 2022. Denise has been oboist for the Mechanics Hall kids concert series since it’s inception in 1994. As English Horn Soloist with the Star Wars in Concert Orchestra, she has toured extensively throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Orchestral work has included The Filarmonica de Caracas in Venezuela, where Denise performed in cities throughout Venezuela, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands. Currently she plays with many regional orchestras throughout New England and at venues including the Huntington Theatre, Xfinity Center, Leader Bank Pavilion, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos, the Cape Cod Melody Tent, and Boston TD Garden.



Robert Schulz, percussionPercussionist Robert Schulz is widely regarded as one of the finest percussionists working today, with an eclectic expertise extending across a broad range of musical styles, ensembles and instruments. He is the principal percussionist for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Landmarks Orchestra (BMOP), Boston Musica Viva and Dinosaur Annex New Music Ensemble. He has been with BMOP since its inception in 1996, overseeing the various percussive details for over 60 commercially available recordings. He is the principal timpanist for several ensembles, including Boston Baroque, Cantata Singers, Back Bay Chorale and Odyssey Opera. He’s worked with the Boston Symphony, Pops and Ballet Orchestras and has been a guest soloist with the Boston Chamber Music Society, First Monday Series at NEC, and Boston Celebrity Series on numerous occasions. Solo appearances with these ensembles have included works by Tan Dun (Water Concerto), Lukas Foss (Percussion Concerto), Eric Moe (Drumset Concerto) and Philip Glass (Timpani Concerto). A recent tour to China, with Wu Man, pipa soloist, culminated with their performance at the 2016 Beijing Music Festival.