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PATRICIA C. SYAK | Symphony notes Masterworks Season to spotlight concerto



Published: Sun, May 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Music happens with you, not to you. The elements are simple: composer, performer, and listener. Today begins a two-part series on the YSO upcoming 2001-02 Masterworks Season.

The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Isaiah Jackson invite you to join them for the Orchestra's 76th season and tribute to the American concerto.

The past century has been a Golden Age for American music. Maverick composers who gravitated toward a sound of their own -- virtuoso display, jazz harmonies, spiky rhythm and even humor -- enjoyed the same musical space, often simultaneously.

During the season, the orchestra pays homage to America's king of keyboard kitsch in Daugherty's Le Tombeau de Liberace and presents pianist John Browning for whom Samuel Barber wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto.

Composers: If you love composers from the great tradition -- and who doesn't? -- you'll find them represented. For example, Beethoven's & quot;Eroica & quot; symphony, his personal favorite; the elegant style of Mozart's early venture into the symphony form, the Thirty-second Symphony and Dvor & aacute;k's Symphony No. 8 appear on the first half of the Masterworks Series.

During the orchestra's fall performances, American musical groundbreakers R & oacute;zsa, Zwilich and Daugherty offer us their concerti for cello, flute and piano, respectively.

Miklos R & oacute;zsa paid for his LA swimming pool by scoring such celluloid epics as "Ben Hur" and "Spellbound," but he received acclaim for his serious music as well.

Guest artists Lynn Harrell brings all his commanding presence, customary swagger and cast-iron technique to R & oacute;zsa's Cello Concerto at the 0rchestra's opening concert Sept. 22.

Completing the gala opening concert program sponsored by the Youngstown Symphony Guild will be the Beethoven Third Symphony & quot;Eroica. & quot;

Names to note: Soloist Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flutist and pianist John Nauman join the orchestra and Isaiah Jackson Oct. 20 in the Youngstown premiere of two American concerti: Zwilich's Flute Concerto and Daugherty's Le Tombeau de Liberace.

At the beginning of this new century when musical offerings are more varied than ever before, American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's music is well known because it is performed, recorded, broadcast and above all, listened to and liked by all sorts of audiences the world over. Zwilich's Flute Concerto will be performed by Ms. Dwyer.

Michael Daugherty has combined his baby boomer affection for pop culture with his background as a rock and jazz musician and his commitment to the traditional orchestra in his playful Le Tombeau de Liberace to be performed by pianist John Nauman.

Composers from the great tradition are represented by Mozart's Symphony No. 32, and Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 4, the Russian composer's tribute to his idol Mozart, at the Oct. 20 concert sponsored by Butler Wick & amp; Company.

Nice touch: Rarely does one have an opportunity to hear an artist perform a composition written for them. Such will be the case when John Browning performs the Pulitzer prize-winning Piano Concerto by Samuel Barber on Nov. 17. When music publisher Schirmer commissioned Barber to write a piano concerto for Lincoln Center's opening week, the composer selected Browning to play the new piece.

A terribly demanding work, which so often requires the pianist to extend both hands to nearly span the width of the keyboard, Browning has over a period of 39 years performed the concerto more than 500 times.

Richard Strauss' tone poem about the legendary Spanish libertine Don Juan and Dvor & aacute;k's Symphony No. 8 with its recollections of the Bohemian landscape, its songs and dances, backgrounds, feast days and ceremonies complete the evening program.

For information and subscriptions to the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra Spirit of 76 season: The American Concerto, call the Symphony Center box office at (330) 744 - 0264.

Next week's article will conclude the Masterworks preview.

XPatricia C. Syak is executive director of the Youngstown Symphony Society.




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