Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestras Unite for Concert


Photo of a string player in the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra

The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra will join the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra March 28 in a concert at Southeast’s River Campus. 

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 14, 2011 — A special collaboration of symphonies will take place in a gala festive concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus. 

The Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestras and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra’s David Halen join forces to provide an evening of amazing orchestral music.  Halen, concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will be the featured soloist of the concert, performing the celebrated “Concerto in G Minor” by Max Bruch with the combined orchestras. 

Halen plays a superb 1753 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin made in Milan, Italy.  This will be Halen’s second appearance as guest soloist with the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra.

“This collaboration of the Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestras brings together two nearby symphonies, both dedicated to promoting great symphonic music in the Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri regions,” said Sara Edgerton, artistic director of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra. 

The concert will open with the iconic “Ride of the Valkyries” from “Die Walküre,” the second opera in Richard Wagner’s massive “Ring Cycle.”  Written for a huge orchestra, this exciting instrumental prelude is frequently programmed as a symphonic overture and has been adapted in popular culture in everything from films to television.  Halen will then join the orchestra in a performance of the lyrical “Concerto in G Minor for Violin and Orchestra.”  One of the most performed of all violin concertos, this Romantic work combines beautiful melodies, technical fireworks and a lush orchestral accompaniment.

The orchestras will present Musorgsky-Ravel’s symphonic masterpiece, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” on the second half of the program.  This beautiful, imaginative composition by Russian composer Modest Musorgsky depicts an exhibition of paintings by his friend, artist Viktor Hartmann, who died unexpectedly in 1873. Musorgsky visited the exhibit that Hartmann’s friends organized, which includes more than 400 pieces of his work, and composed “Pictures at an Exhibition” as a musical portrayal of 10 of Hartmann’s paintings.  

The great French composer and orchestrator, Maurice Ravel, subsequently orchestrated the masterpiece for full symphonic orchestra with a large woodwind section (including saxophone), brass section, percussion, two harps and strings.  The orchestral version of this work remains hugely popular with its immensely evocative orchestral writing, brilliant orchestral sonorities and memorable melodies.

David Halen

Award winning violinist David Halen is living a dream that began as a youth the first time he saw the Saint Louis Symphony perform in Warrensburg, Mo. [Halen] began playing the violin at the age of five, graduated from high school at 16 and earned his bachelor’s degree at the age of 19. In that same year, he won the Music Teachers National Association Competition for violin and was granted a Fulbright scholarship for study in Germany with Wolfgang Marschner at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik, the youngest recipient ever to have been honored with this prestigious award. The Houston Symphony provided Halen’s first major opportunity to prove himself as an outstanding professional orchestral performer, as assistant concertmaster under Sergiu Comissiona and Christoph Eschenbach until 1991.  He then followed his dream to St. Louis as associate concertmaster. He was permanently named concertmaster without audition in September 1995 through acclaim of the orchestra, with the support of music directors Leonard Slatkin and Hans Vonk.  

He has been a featured artist at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec, Canada (2000-2003), the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in British Columbia (2004) and has performed as concerto soloist and concertmaster of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.  Recently, he has held residencies and given master classes and multiple orchestra workshops at Yale University, the University of Michigan, the Manhattan School of Music, the National Orchestra Institute at the University of Maryland and Indiana University. 

His numerous accolades include the 2002 St. Louis Arts and Entertainment Award for Excellence and an honorary doctorate from Central Missouri State University (2005) and the University of Missouri-Saint Louis (2007).  In 2009, he was appointed to the Missouri Arts Council by then Governor Matt Blunt. 

Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra

The Southeast Missouri Symphony, in residence at Southeast Missouri State University, is celebrating the 10th anniversary season of its acclaimed Symphony Series.  The Southeast Missouri Symphony has collaborated with such guest artists as Jack Gibbons, Gershwin pianist; David Halen, Jonathan Vinocour and Mark Sparks, principal players of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Neal E. Boyd, 2008 winner of “America’s Got Talent;” and other celebrated performers.  The symphony recently performed a series of concerts in China, including a concert on the Great Wall of China. 

Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra

The Southern Illinois Symphony has won a number of impressive accolades and performed for President Clinton and an audience of 10,000 in 1995.  It also hosts the annual Southern Illinois Festival, with over three dozen professional chamber music, orchestral and opera performances in June each year.

Edgerton of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra and Ed Benyas of the Southern Illinois Symphony will appear as conductors for this combined orchestra. 

“This event is a very special opportunity for the Southeast Missouri Symphony to collaborate with a marvelous neighboring orchestra,” Edgerton said. “Ed and I first discussed this venture back in November of 2009, and we were both very excited about this collaboration.  Our orchestra members will be sitting side-by-side with each other and will learn and gain a great deal from this collaboration.  It also allows us to program several works for a very large symphony orchestra.  We are looking forward very much to the brilliant sounds of an orchestra of 96 musicians on the stage of Bedell.”


Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by calling (573) 651-2265.  Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword “SE Symphony” or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.