Gala Season Opening Concert to Feature Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’


The Southeast Missouri Symphony will present its Gala Season Opening Concert on Tuesday, Oct. 9, with a program of all-American music, featuring George Gershwin’s colorful, jazzy “Rhapsody in Blue” for piano soloist and orchestra.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

Also on the program will be Howard Hanson’s evocative and inspiring work for orchestra, his “Romantic Symphony No. 2.”  The concert will be conducted by Dr. Sara Edgerton, professor of music at Southeast Missouri State University; the piano soloist will be Jennifer Lim Judd.

The concert will open with selections from Howard Hanson’s “Merry Mount Suite,” which is a symphonic work consisting of musical highlights from Hanson’s opera of the same name.  Hanson’s “Merry Mount” opera is based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne and depicts life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century.  The music reflects the story-line, with folk-like dances interspersed with moments of great emotional depth and feeling.

The orchestra will then perform two works by George Gershwin: his “Lullaby for String Orchestra,” followed by his celebrated “Rhapsody in Blue” for orchestra and piano soloist.  In 1923, Gershwin was asked to write a composition that would fuse elements of the jazz and classical world.  At that time, Gershwin was a leading composer in New York City, working primarily in the media of popular music and musicals.  The result of this commission, his “Rhapsody in Blue” (first performed in 1924), quickly established itself as one of the most recognized and beloved 20th century compositions.  From the opening jazzy glide of the clarinet, to the brilliant, improvisatory piano passages, this work has been a favorite of audiences throughout the world.

“We are very much looking forward to performing this concert of All-American music,” said Edgerton, the conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony.  “Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is always great fun to play and to listen to, and will be a crowd-pleaser! And, we think that audiences will also connect vividly with Hanson’s beautiful symphonic works. Come and enjoy memorable melodies, brilliant instrumental writing and energetic rhythms at our Gala Season Opening concert at the River Campus!”


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