Orchestra Presenting Gala Season Opening Concert

by News Bureau on Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 25, 2012 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will open its 2012-2013 concert season with a program of music by the great Russian composers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Aram Khatchaturian and Sergei Rachmaninoff Oct. 9 at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

Joining the orchestra for its gala season opening concert will be acclaimed pianist, Jack Gibbons, in a performance of the celebrated “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Rachmaninoff. The concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

The concert will open with the “Overture on Russian Themes” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Rimsky-Korsakov was a 19th century Russian composer who wrote such notable works as “Scheherazade” and “Russian Easter Overture.” The “Overture on Russian Themes” is a relatively early work by Rimsky-Korsakov. Opening with a rousing orchestral chord, it goes on to present a series of Russian themes in many different instruments of the orchestra, culminating in a thrilling conclusion.

The orchestra will then perform Khatchaturian’s “Masquerade Suite.” Khatchaturian was an important 20th-century Russian composer, best known today for such colorful works as “Spartacus” and the “Gayaneh Ballet.” The “Masquerade Suite” is a series of lively dances, alternating with slow, eloquent movements featuring the solo violin, trumpet and clarinet.

Gibbons, concert pianist, will join the Southeast Missouri Symphony for the second half of the concert, performing the famous “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Rachmaninoff. This concerto, written in 1901, was premiered by Rachmaninoff, and was enthusiastically received at its first performance. The concerto is full of beautiful melodies and flowing arpeggios. Throughout the concerto, Rachmaninoff’s gift for melody is apparent; also noteworthy are the large-spaced piano chords (a reflection of Rachmaninoff’s large hand span on the piano) and rich, impressionistic harmonies. Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” has become one of the most frequently performed works of the piano repertoire, and it has been used in film scores and other popular media.

Gibbons has been described by the press as “one of England’s most exciting young pianists.” His performances have been received with standing ovations in some of the world’s greatest concert halls, including New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and London’s Queen Elizabeth and Royal Albert Halls, and his recordings have consistently attracted rave reviews, awards and commendations.

In 1994, Gibbons gave his New York and Washington, D.C., debuts to tremendous acclaim, and the following year he made his debut at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London, performing the work with which he has become so closely associated – George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” with the BBC hailing him as “The Gershwin pianist of our time.”

Since then, Gibbons has performed frequently in New York, his most recent all-Gershwin recitals at New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall being greeted with standing ovations from packed halls. Gibbons tours regularly around the world and performs frequently with major orchestras from the United Kingdom and the United States, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Hallé, English Northern Philharmonia, and the New Jersey Symphony.

“We are very excited to welcome Jack Gibbons back to the River Campus and to the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall,” noted orchestra director, Sara Edgerton. “Jack performed with us two years ago, in an all-Gershwin concert, and students and audiences alike were mesmerized by his beautiful playing and amazing virtuosity. We are looking forward very much to collaborating with him in this performance of one of the greatest compositions ever written for piano and orchestra.”

Tickets are Now on Sale

Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.