S. Illinois Music Festival Orchestra Coming to Bedell June 25

Photo of the Southern Illinois Festival Orchestra

The Southern Illinois Festival Orchestra will perform an outreach concert June 25 at Southeast’s River Campus.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 5, 2008 — The Southern Illinois Music Festival, a musical outreach of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, comes this year to Southeast Missouri State University for the first time ever with an orchestra performance at 7:30 p.m.  Wednesday, June 25.

The concert will be held in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall located in the Cultural Arts Center at the River campus.

The festival program includes Rossini’s “Overture to Semiramide,” Haydn’s “Symphony No. 96 – Miracle,” and Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy.” This is a general admission event. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $6 for students of any age.

Joining the orchestra for the “Scottish Fantasy” is David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Kim was a prodigy, playing the violin beginning at age 3.  He is the only American violinist to win an award at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. 

The festival, now in its fourth year, began as a way to bring a wide variety of classical and jazz music, featuring award-winning musicians, to Southern Illinois.  Since then, the popularity of the festival inspires festival founder and the conductor of the Southern Illinois Festival Orchestra, Edward Benyas, to add sites to the festival’s mobile concert list — even crossing the Mississippi River, this year.

The “Overture to Semiramide” is from Rossini’s two-act opera about the Babylonian queen who murders her husband and places her lover on his throne.  In a plot-twist similar to that in Oedipus Rex, Semiramide turns from her new king and husband to a young military man — who turns out to be her son.  He ultimately kills his mother, though it is by mistake,

Haydn’s “Miracle” symphony gets its name from a famous incident that happened during a London concert.  According to Haydn’s biographer, the audience at a concert boasting Haydn as the conductor rose and, more or less, rushed the stage to see the famous man.  Just then, a massive chandelier fell, crashing into the seats left empty by the enthusiastic audience.  Those who realized they had escaped death or injury declared it a “miracle.”  Though the symphony to be played that day might not really have been No. 96, the name stuck and today the symphony is known as the Miracle Symphony.

Max Bruch wrote his “Scottish Fantasy” specifically for a violin virtuoso.  It is a four-movement piece that includes Scottish folk melodies and the patriotic anthem, “Scots Wha Hae.”  Though the composition highlights the violin, the harp also takes pride of place during this performance.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance 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. Tickets also may be purchased online at metrotix.com or by calling toll free: (800) 293-5949. For directions, visit the River Campus at www.semo.edu/rivercampus.