Symphony to Present Gala Season Opening Concert with Violinist David Halen


david-halen-bio-picture-croppedThe Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will open its 2016-2017 concert season with a Gala Concert featuring St. Louis Symphony Concertmaster, David Halen, on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

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

The program will include some of the most well-known selections from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballets, “Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.” David Halen will join the orchestra for the four celebrated violin solos from these ballets. The concert will also include music by the esteemed Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius.

Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, wrote three major ballets: “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty” and the “Nutcracker.” All three ballets have become immensely popular and are very frequently performed.   In fact, current rankings of the most popular ballets of all time place “Swan Lake” and the “Nutcracker” at the very top (first and second place), while the “Sleeping Beauty” is listed as the fourth or fifth most frequently performed ballet of all time. This concert will highlight many of the most memorable tunes from “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

“Swan Lake,” composed in 1875-1876, is the first of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets. Based on Russian and possibly German sources and folktales, and with the beautiful imagery of swans, it is a magical story of Romantic love. Though the ballet was a failure when it was initially presented, it has gone on to become one of the most beloved ballets of all time. Tchaikovsky’s second foray into the arena of ballet music was his ballet, “Sleeping Beauty” (1889). This ballet is based on the well-known folk tale of the Sleeping Beauty, who is awakened after a spell of 100 years and marries the Prince who awakens her. The symphony orchestra’s concert will open with famous orchestral excerpts from these two ballets. Subsequently, David Halen will join the orchestra in a performance of the four famous violin solos from “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.”

The second half of the concert will present music by the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. In 1903, Sibelius wrote six pieces as incidental music to the play Kuolema (“Death”), one of which was entitled “Valse Triste.” The following year Sibelius revised “Valse Triste” and it was performed as an orchestral work in 1904; an instant success, it has remained one of Sibelius’ best-known works. This short, emotionally intense piece will open the second half of the program. Subsequently, the orchestra will perform two movements from Sibelius’s “Symphony No. 2.” Composed from 1901-1902 (just one year before the “Valse Triste”), Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2” likewise received instant acclaim and is the most frequently performed of his seven symphonies. Full of beautiful melodies and expressive harmonies, it is an immensely appealing and satisfying composition.

“We are very excited about this opening concert of the 10th anniversary season at the River Campus,” said Dr. Sara Edgerton, the conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. “All of the music on this concert is immediately accessible and rewarding to the listener and the performers alike. Great Romantic music has beautiful melodies and intensely meaningful emotional expression; the audience will definitely hear and relate to the music being performed. Tchaikovsky and Sibelius are among two of the very greatest Romantic composers, and we are thrilled to be able to perform these works for our gala season opening concert. And, we are honored to present the brilliant violinist, David Halen, as our special soloist for the famous violin solos from ‘Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.’”


Tickets to the concert are now on sale and may be obtained by contacting the River Campus Box Office at (573) 651-2265, by visiting the Box Office during office hours, or by visiting