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Wichita Symphony Orchestra announces lineup for 70th classics season

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Sunday, March 31, 2013, at 8:17 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, March 31, 2013, at 8:55 a.m.

Wichita Symphony Orchestra 2013-2014 70th Anniversary Classics Season

The symphony this week announced the following concerts. Listed are some of the musical highlights they will include.

Purchase season tickets April 8 or at the concerts Saturday or April 7. Single ticket sales will follow at a yet-to-be-announced time. Single tickets range from $17 to $55, and a season subscription can save ticketholders up to 20 percent off those prices. Season ticket prices increase May 24, and seats are assigned in June.

For more information, visit wso.org or call 316-267-7658.

Rite of Spring, Oct. 12 and 13

The concert will include guest pianists Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”

Rachmaninoff’s Third, Oct. 26 and 27

The concert will feature pianist Joyce Yang and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Concertmaster Harrison Plays Mendelssohn, Nov. 16 and 17

Violinist John Harrison will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor.

Franck Symphony, Jan. 18 and 19

Featured music will be Franck’s Symphony in D minor, with cellist Julian Schwarz and guest conductor Maximiano Valdes.

Cirque de la Symphonie, Jan. 31-Feb. 2 (includes blue jeans concert)

Big-top production-like feats set to live symphony orchestra music.

The New World, Feb. 15 and 16

The program features the American Brass Quintet and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.”

The Romantic, March 15 and 16

Music will include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4.

Ode to Joy, April 5 and 6, 2014

The final concert will feature the Wichita Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

New associated concertmaster

Evgeny Zvonnikov is the symphony’s new associate concertmaster. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia and plays in the St. Petersburg Quartet. He also teaches at Wichita State University. Zvonnikov will share the first stand of first violins with Concertmaster Harrison and will assume the duties of the concertmaster in Harrison’s absence.

Just as the Wichita Symphony Orchestra prepares to present its final classics concert of the current season, it also is ramping up for its 70th classics season, which begins in October and will include flying acrobats, guest artists and Beethoven’s Ninth.

Music Director and Conductor Daniel Hege and Executive Director Don Reinhold wanted both old favorites and show stoppers in the lineup.

“There’s something for everyone,” Reinhold said. “We’re looking to stretch our horizons.”

The season opener will feature the large orchestra pieces by Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky — “Daphnis and Chloe Suite” and “The Rite of Spring.” Identical twin sisters will play Francois Poulenc’s “Concerto for Two Pianos.”

The second classics concert will feature what is endearingly called “Rock 3.” Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 will feature piano virtuoso Joyce Yang. Rachmaninoff’s piece is paired with the quick-paced Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms and Bela Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin Suite,” which will show off the orchestra’s principal players as they trade off small solos.

Much of Hungarian-born Bartok’s music is inspired by his native land’s folk tunes.

“Bartok’s work shows off the orchestra wonderfully,” Reinhold said. “The music is so colorful.”

The third concert will feature the Symphony’s very own concertmaster, John Harrison, performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor.

“He’s a fantastic player,” Reinhold said. “This is the most popular and famous violin symphony ever written.”

Harrison, who has performed the Mendelssohn piece for several orchestras, said he is delighted to be the group’s soloist for the evening.

“It has beautiful melodies, and it’s also a very sophisticated piece,” Harrison said. “It’s a real honor to play with the orchestra. I’m extremely excited to get this opportunity.”

In 2014, Chilean native Maximiano Valdes will conduct works by 20th-century Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera and French composers Camille Saint-Saens and Cesar Franck.

“Max Valdes is fantastic,” Reinhold said. Hege and Valdes worked together to choose the fast-paced and colorful lineup.

The fifth classics event, which also will include a blue jeans concert, features the Cirque de la Symphonie. Acrobats will fly through the air and perform feats of strength, beauty and balance as the orchestra performs short classic pieces.

“It’s an opportunity to introduce people to classical music,” Reinhold said. “It’s just extraordinary.”

For the sixth concert, the orchestra will take the audience to the U.S. with John Barry’s orchestral suite from “Dances with Wolves,” Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World,” and a 1996 work by Eric Ewazen that evokes the rich heritage of the native peoples of the Americas. Ewazen designed his composition around the photography of Edward Curtis, who documented Native American ceremonies, dress and lifestyle.

“Each movement was inspired by a photograph,” Reinhold said.

The American Brass Quintet, a leading brass performance group that plays strictly classical music, will perform Ewazen’s “Shadowcatcher” with the full orchestra.

For the seventh performance, William Wolfram will perform Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

“Bill is one of the most respected pianists of the day,” Reinhold said.

Along with Liszt’s work, the concert will feature works by fellow Romantic composers Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 shows off the brass section of the orchestra.

The season will end with the ever-popular crowd pleaser Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

“It’s simply one of the pinnacles of music,” Reinhold said. “It’s just terrific.”

The symphony will announce its pops concert season later this spring.

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