The Southeast Missouri Symphony will be presenting its Gala Season opening concerts on Monday, Oct. 12 and Tuesday, Oct. 13, in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University.
The concerts are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. both days. Face coverings will be required, and social distancing guidelines will be in place. Due to capacity limits, patrons are encouraged to reserve their seats early.
The program will be an all Ludwig van Beethoven concert, in celebration of the 250th birthday of this iconic composer. Special guest artist for both concerts will be violinist Liesl Schoenberger Doty.
The program will open with selections from Beethoven’s “Twelve German Dances.” These short, attractive dances were written in 1795 in Vienna, Italy, early in Beethoven’s career. With strong rhythmic impulses, rapid changes of mood, and innovative instrumentation, these dances illustrate Beethoven’s creativity even in these short, accessible styles of composition.
Next, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s two “Romances” for Violin and Orchestra, in G Major and in F Major. These two works give the violin soloist beautiful, expressive melodies against a backdrop of harmonious orchestral accompaniment. These works were also written and premiered in Vienna, and they are still as popular and appealing today as they were when first performed more than 200 years ago.
During the second half of the concert, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s “First Symphony.” This is another composition from Beethoven’s early Viennese period, and he started work on this piece as early as 1795, and it premiered in 1800. With this symphony, Beethoven makes a bold new statement about music in general and orchestral music in particular. It certainly follows the blueprint of symphonic composition as found in the music of Haydn and Mozart, but develops this form in many ways. Introductory sections are mysterious, dynamics are expanded, emotions and expression are heightened, and concluding sections add tension before resolving the narrative. All four movements are full of verve, energy, and excitement, which are expressive qualities that continued to dominate in Beethoven’s symphonic career.
“We are very excited about these opening concerts of the 2020-2021 season,” said Dr. Sara Edgerton, conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. “This all-Beethoven program will showcase some of the incredible music Beethoven composed in his early years in Vienna, which clearly show his creativity and bold, expressive powers. I think this is a perfect concert for these challenging times. Beethoven himself lived through very unsettling times — wars, upheavals, social change — as well as huge personal difficulties. His music continues to connect with each new generation of listeners who can respond to the expressivity and humanity of his music. In addition, we are thrilled to present Liesl Schoenberger Doty in the beautiful ‘Romances’ by Beethoven — truly heartfelt music that everyone will enjoy.”
Doty, a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has performed to great acclaim throughout North America and Europe. She has appeared in such illustrious concert halls as Carnegie Hall (New York City) and the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C). She is a member of Boston, Massachusetts-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry, performing on tours, recordings and concerts with this notable professional ensemble. She also performs as a crossover artist, and has released three commercial fiddle albums with musical legends Buddy Spicher and David Grier. Doty is currently assistant professor of violin at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam.
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 RiverCampus.org.