The Winston-Salem Symphony’s October 2012 Classics concerts will feature Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony as well as a performance by guest artist and pianist, Antonio Pompa-Baldi. Under the direction of Maestro Matthew Troy, Associate Conductor, the Symphony will present A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by Zhou Tian; Concerto for Piano, No. 1 in G minor, op. 25, by Felix Mendelssohn featuring Pompa-Baldi; and Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64, by Tchaikovsky.
Promoted last year from Assistant to Associate Conductor, these concerts mark the first time that Maestro Troy will be conducting a full Classics series concert cycle. In the past he has conducted Concert for Community, Education, Pops, Handel’s Messiah, and Holiday Concerts, but not a full Classics series.
The concerts will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m., and Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts at 405 W. Fourth Street. Tickets range from $15 – $62 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at WSSymphony.org.
Contemporary composer Zhou Tian was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1981 and trained at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, The Juilliard School of Music and the University of Southern California. He is now on the faculty of Colgate University. His music has been performed throughout the world by distinguished performers, including the Indianapolis Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Symphony in C, American Composers Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony, Hangzhou Philharmonic, the Biava Quartet, the Arditti Quartet, Great Wall Quartet, the Third Angle Ensemble, pianist Yuja Wang and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. His orchestral work, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, was written for the Green Bay Commission Club and premiered by the Green Bay Symphony in 2009.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is inspired by an Old Chinese proverb, which roughly translates as: it would take a thousand years of good prayers to ensure a good relationship between two people. Zhou wanted to present this ancient proverb through a musical journey and to create a work that in his words would “convey a sense of spiritual bliss.”
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was an important composer of the Romantic generation and one of the first major orchestral conductors. The Piano Concerto No. 1 was first performed in Munich on October 17, 1831. It features a dramatic and energetic dialogue between the piano and the orchestra. All three movements are played without interruption culminating in an exciting and brilliant finale. Guest artist Pompa-Baldi will perform with the Symphony on this piece.
Born and raised in Foggia, Italy, internationally renowned pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi first came to the U.S. in 1999 to participate in the Cleveland International Piano Competition. He won the First Prize, and, while fulfilling all the engagements that came with it, he and his wife, Italian pianist Emanuela Friscioni, decided to make Cleveland their home. A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France, Pompa-Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, as well as the Award for the Best Performance of a New Work.
Pompa-Baldi has toured extensively on four continents playing in many of the world’s major concert venues. He is also a passionate chamber musician and a frequent guest at chamber music events around the country. He has numerous recordings and has been seen and heard on television in France, the Ukraine, the United States and Canada. He serves as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music and gives master classes around the world, both in conjunction with his performing engagements at summer festivals. For a full biography, please visit WSSymphony.org.
The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, which has become one of his most popular symphonies despite the composer’s original doubts about its quality. It was first performed in November of 1888 to mixed reviews but has since become an important piece in the symphonic repertory. As in his Fourth Symphony, the four movements are linked by a common motto. Throughout the piece, Tchaikovsky alternates between subdued understated passages, moments of graceful, balletic beauty and dramatic outbursts. The second movement contains a well-known tune brought to the fore by a beautiful horn solo. Despite somber motifs throughout, the symphony ends on a note of joyful exuberance.
This concert and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo; Classics Series Co-Presenting Sponsors Forsyth Medical Center and Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A; Kicked Back Classics Presenting Sponsor Michael Morykwas and Christine Thornton, as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council and Piedmont Music Center.
The Saturday, October 13 performance is part of the Kicked-Back Classics Series. These concerts are one hour, without intermission and include a more informal atmosphere with educational insights from the conductor. This concert will include A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by Zhou Tian; the second and third movements of Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Piano in G minor, op. 25, No. 1 and the first and final movements of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor. After each Kicked-Back concert, concert-goers can join the conductor and members of the orchestra for Brews with Bob. A different, convenient downtown location will be announced at each concert.
The Winston-Salem Symphony is in its 66th season as one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras. Under the baton of Music Director Robert Moody, its performance season includes: a classics series, a kicked-back classics series, a pops series, concerts for kids, annual performances of Handel’s Messiah; a concert featuring Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth Symphony musicians; a Holiday Concert; three youth orchestra ensembles; and a multitude of educational and community engagement programs. For more information visit WSSymphony.org.
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Winston-Salem is centrally located in North Carolina between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean beaches. It is easily accessible by car via Interstate 40, Business Interstate 40, Interstate 77, Interstate 85 and U.S. Highway 52. Scheduled air service is available through Piedmont Triad International Airport just 20 minutes east of Winston-Salem. Accommodations range from bed and breakfasts to luxury hotel rooms. For more information on Winston-Salem, call toll free 866.728.4200; go to visitwinstonsalem.com; or stop by the Winston-Salem Visitor Center, 200 Brookstown Avenue in the historic Brookstown Mill area just south of downtown Winston-Salem.
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