Symphony Orchestra to Present Gala Season Opener

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 1, 2013 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will present its Gala Season Opening Concert on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., will feature the young virtuoso cellist, Patrice Jackson, as soloist with the symphony. The concert will present music from the Baroque era to today, and will include the brilliant masterpiece, “Night on Bald Mountain,” by the Russian composer Mussorgsky, just in time for Halloween. Sara Edgerton, Department of Music faculty member, will conduct the orchestra.

A short, free pre-concert talk is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. in the Bedell Performance Hall.

“This opening concert of the Southeast Missouri Symphony should be very exciting and fun for our audience,” Edgerton said. “We are thrilled to welcome back to Bedell the marvelous young cellist, Patrice Jackson, performing beautiful works for cello and orchestra. It is also very exciting to present brilliant works for a large symphony orchestra by such amazing composers as Mussorgsky, Philip Glass and Christopher Theofanidis. These compositions really showcase the full orchestra and convey tremendous energy and excitement. The orchestra has grown significantly in size, with many new students accepted into the ensemble, and we now have 70 players in the orchestra. It will be very interesting to hear this wonderful group of young players on stage for this opening concert.”

The symphony orchestra will open the concert with a beautiful overture by the great Baroque composer, Handel. Next on the program will be the beloved “Concerto for Two Cellos” by the famous Italian composer, Antonio Vivaldi. This celebrated work highlights the rich sonorities of the cello, accompanied by the typical Baroque string orchestra. Jackson and Edgerton will perform the two solo cello parts in this lovely Baroque work.

The concert will continue with music by the great Classical composer, Joseph Haydn. The orchestra will perform the energetic Finale to his “Symphony No. 48,” composed during Haydn’s Esterhazy years. Jackson will then return to the stage as the cello soloist in Haydn’s brilliant “Cello Concerto in C Major.” This concerto, a favorite amongst cellists and audiences alike, has three contrasting movements. The first movement is at once grand and melodious in nature; the second movement is slower and has soaring lines for the solo cello. The final movement is a thrilling, virtuoso “tour de force” for the solo cellist and orchestra.

The second half of the concert will feature music from the late 19th and 20th centuries, written for the full symphonic orchestra. The orchestra will perform the fanfare-like “Flourishes” by American composer, Christopher Theofanidis, featuring the brass and percussion section. Following this energetic work, the orchestra will perform a movement of the intriguing “Low Symphony,” composed in 1992 by American composer Philip Glass. The “Low Symphony” was based on material from David Bowie’s important and innovative album, “Low” (1977), produced by Brian Eno. Glass’ “Low Symphony” is a mesmerizing fusion of pop, minimalism, and jazz influences.

The concert will conclude with the masterpiece, “Night on Bald Mountain,” by Modest Mussorgsky, composed in 1866ᾰ1867, and orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1886. It depicts the Russian legend of the Witches’ Sabbath on the eve (June 23) of the feast day of St. John; the witches’ dance is finally interrupted by the stroke of midnight, upon which the witches fly for cover. This Russian legend is very similar to the tradition of Halloween, on the eve of All Saints Day; thus the “Night on Bald Mountain” is often performed today in connection with Halloween.

The brilliant and gifted young cellist Jackson is carving a name for herself as a talented and charismatic young soloist. A native of St. Louis, Jackson began piano lessons with her mother at the age of three and cello lessons with her father at the age of eight. At 13, she made her debut with the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra, performing the “Elgar Cello Concerto.”

Jackson has won numerous competitions and awards throughout her career, and has performed with the Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Omaha, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Nashville, Hartford, Chautauqua, Colorado and Mississippi Symphonies, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In recent years, Jackson also has collaborated with Mark O’Connor, Grammy-Award winning composer and violinist, both in concert and as a faculty member of his celebrated Mark O’Connor educational string sessions, held at such prestigious locations as the Berklee School of Music. She performed with Mark O’Connor in his double concerto for violin and cello, “For the Heroes,” in concert at the River Campus in October 2011. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Yale School of Music in New Haven, Conn.

Tickets for the concert are now available, and can be purchased by visiting the River Campus Box Office, by phone (573-651-2265) or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.