BEETHOVEN 5 – Billings Symphony Skip to content


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Classic Series


Oct 26, 2024


Alberta Bair Theater

2801 3rd Ave N


Aram Demirjian, guest conductor
Tyler Menzales, Flute

Jennifer Higdon | blue cathedral
Jacques Ibert | Flute Concerto
Ludwig van Beethoven | Symphony No. 5

Savor the electrifying prowess of guest conductor Aram Demirjian, winner of The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, as he blends contemporary composers with Beethoven in this fusion concert. Billings Symphony’s Principal Flutist Tyler Menzales showcases his remarkable talent in Ibert’s intricate Flute Concerto.

  • In its last movement, the Fifth Symphony was the first major orchestral composition to use trombone, the high-pitched piccolo and the low-pitched contrabassoon. This innovation had to be done in order to reach wider dynamics in music, this way bringing to life this grandiose symphony.
  • The firsts of this symphony are impressive: it was one of the earliest symphonies to use trombones (and the one that made them stick as members of the symphonic orchestra) and the first symphony to bring music from one movement back in another. But more important was the new emotional character and arc of the music. In his Fifth Symphony, Beethoven takes listeners on a journey from the darkness and violence of the C minor first movement to the exultant triumph of the C major finale. Years later Beethoven wrote about this progression from minor to major in one of his conversation books:

    “Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! On the contrary, I find that … the major has a glorious effect. Joy follows sorrow, sunshine—rain.”

  • Voyager 1 and 2 space probes were launched by NASA in 1977. On both of them, there is a golden record, a 12-inch (30 cm) phonograph, that contains selected sounds and images from planet Earth. In the music selection we (or rather hopefully aliens will) find the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The Voyagers are still traveling deep space, even today.

Guest CONDUCTOR & GUEST artist


Recipient of The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from The Solti Foundation U.S., conductor Aram Demirjian has built a reputation as an insightful interpreter of the symphonic repertoire and an engaging, “enthusiastic, even electric” (San Francisco Classical Voice) presence on the podium. Widely acclaimed for his transformative work as Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO), he is sought after for his "graceful, energetic direction" (Sarasota Herald Tribune) and dynamic programming. 

As the eighth Music Director of the KSO, Aram has led the orchestra to new artistic heights and national distinction for its achievements. A devoted champion of American music, Aram’s programming has grown the ensemble’s repertoire, particularly by emphasizing music by living composers, artists from underrepresented groups, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Under his leadership, the KSO was selected in 2020 as one of four orchestras to be featured at SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, presented by The Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts. In the spring of 2022, Aram, the KSO, and Tessa Lark premiered Michael Schachter’s Violin Concerto: Cycle of Life, jointly commissioned by the KSO and Knoxville Museum of Art. The project, inspired by the work of East Tennessee-based glass artist Richard Jolley, was profiled by the PBS show Craft in America. Mere weeks following, Aram and the KSO collaborated with Knoxville-based drum ensemble Indigenous Vibes for a thunderous performance of James DeMars’ SABAR: Concerto for African Drums and Orchestra. 

Aram’s 2023-24 season features him leading the KSO in favorites by Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Bizet, Mahler, and Mozart, as well as exciting commissions and premieres by Sarah Gibson, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Jorge Variego. The KSO also presents its holiday tradition of Handel’s Messiah, and closes its season with Verdi’s Requiem in celebration of the work’s 150th anniversary. 

In demand as a guest conductor, Aram was praised in his San Diego Symphony debut for “elicit[ing] dramatic, incisive performances from the orchestra” (San Diego Story). He’s enjoyed frequent collaborations with The Philadelphia Orchestra and in recent seasons, Aram has appeared with the symphonies of Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New England Conservatory, Nashville, North Carolina, Colorado, Portland, San Antonio, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and St. Louis; the Louisiana and Orlando philharmonics; the Minnesota and Sarasota orchestras; plus festival appearances at Big Ears, Oregon Bach, Breckenridge Music, and Tanglewood Music Center’s Festival of Contemporary Music. Internationally, Aram has conducted the Orquesta Sinfónico de Minería, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and Orchéstre Métropolitain de Montréal. 

Throughout his career, Aram has worked with internationally renowned conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Stéphane Denève, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Haitink, Manfred Honeck, Louis Langrée, Fabio Luisi, Kurt Masur, and Antonio Pappano, and collaborated with artists including Julia Bullock, Augustin Hadelich, Stefan Jackiw, Yo-Yo Ma, Nicholas Phan, Jason Vieaux, and Joyce Yang. 

In addition to being honored with the 2020 Solti Award, Aram also received the 2017 and 2019 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards; a 2018 Solti Foundation U.S. Buccheri Opera Residency with Lyric Opera of Chicago; and the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a three-time Conducting Fellow in the Aspen Conducting Academy. 

The proud child of an immigrant family, Aram is American-born and of Armenian descent. He holds a joint B.A. in Music and Government from Harvard, and a M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory. 


As the principal flutist of the Billings Symphony Orchestra, Tyler Menzales captivates audiences with his virtuosity and passion for music, having appeared as a soloist in J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in the 2020-2021 season and as a soloist alongside Elizabeth Adcock in the Billings Symphony’s Sukin Series in 2022. In addition to his role with the symphony, Tyler serves as an adjunct flute faculty member at Montana State University Billings, where he shares his expertise with aspiring musicians, nurturing the talents of the next generation of flutists. 

Away from Billings, Tyler's engagements have taken him to stages across the United States. In demand as an orchestral performer, Tyler is frequently invited to play with other orchestras, most recently the Detroit Symphony, as well as guest principal engagements with orchestras across Montana. Summers are no exception, with Tyler most recently appearing as a performer and faculty member at Montana’s Red Lodge Music Festival in 2023. Tyler's talents have also graced the stages of the Aspen Music Festival, where he was selected as an American Academy of Conducting flute fellow in 2014, also clinching victory at the Aspen Music Festival Woodwind Concerto competition, stunning audiences with his performance of Reinecke's Flute Concerto. Equally at home in operatic repertoire, Tyler was also personally invited to be the principal flutist of Opera Saratoga by Maestro Gary Wedow in 2015. 

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Tyler earned his Master of Music degree under the guidance of the legendary New York Philharmonic principal flutist, Robert Langevin. Prior to Juilliard, he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he studied with the esteemed flutist Bonita Boyd. Tyler's musical journey began at the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy, where he honed his skills under the mentorship of Nancy Stagnitta. He has also received mentorship from renowned flutists Mark Sparks and Diana Morgan. 

When not performing, you can find Tyler snuggled up at home in Great Falls, MT next to his husband with whom he loves to cook, travel, and give back to the community through charitable programs.