Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles in concert tonight

Image result for music notes

Come see the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Ensembles perform in the annual Mid-Winter Youth Orchestra concert at 6 pm at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

The four groups performing will be:

  • Preparatory Orchestra, conducted by Casey Buck
  • Prelude Orchestra, co-conducted by Andrew Irvin and Kiril Laskarov
  • Academy Orchestra, conducted by Tom McDonald
  • Youth Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Robson

Ranging in age from 9-18 and traveling from over 37 communities throughout the state, the ASYO has grown to over 200 members.

These youth work hard throughout the year on the music, which is often over and above their efforts with school music programs and individual private lessons.  The conductors choose music that is challenging for them but also appropriate for the level of the ensemble.  They also have the opportunity to interact with the professional musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra throughout the year.

$10 tickets can be purchased at the door or


Chamber Music Concert tonight – Mozart and a Premiere

Image result for mozart clarinet concertoTonight (January 14) at 7pm at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Drew Irvin, Stephen Feldman, and friends will perform the Mozart Clarinet Quintet.

Also on the program is the premier of the work “The Fence, The Rooftop And The Distant Sea”, by Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh for string quartet and clarinet.

Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $15. Students are admitted for free with I.D.

Mendelssohn String Symphony No. 10 tonight at Arkansas Symphony River Rhapsodies Series at Clinton Presidential Center

ASO NewThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fifth concert of the 2015-2016 River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series: Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 10, at 7 PM Tuesday March 1, 2016 at the Clinton Presidential Center’s Great Hall.

ASO musicians present a chamber music showcase in the beautiful Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center, featuring works from Prokofiev, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bach in various ensembles.

A cash bar is open at 6 PM and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry drinks into the hall. Media sponsor for the River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series is KUAR/KLRE.

Tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at; at the Clinton Presidential Center beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100.


Geoffrey Robson, violin/conductor
Rockefeller Quartet:

  • Trisha McGovern Freeney, violin
  • Katherine Williamson, violin
  • Katherine Reynolds, viola
  • Aaron Ludwig, cello

Vernon Di Carlo, tenor
Tatiana Roitman, piano
Andrew Irvin, Kiril Laskarov, Eric Hayward, Meredith Maddox Hicks, Leanne Day-Simpson, Sandra McDonald, Yennifer Correia, violins
Ryan Mooney, Katrina Weeks, violas
David Gerstein, Ethan Young, cellos
Barron Weir, bass
Carl Anthony, harpsichord



PROKOFIEV – Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56

BEETHOVEN  – String Quartet in C minor, Op. 18 No. 4

MENDELSSOHN – Selection of Songs for Voice and Piano

BACH – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BW 1048

MENDELSSOHN – String Symphony No. 10 in B minor

250 year old Gagliano violin celebrated at tonight’s ASO River Rhapsodies

drew asoThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will showcase Concertmaster Andrew Irvin’s 250 year old Gagliano violin on October 27 as part of the ASO’s 2015-2016 River Rhapsodies Chamber Music series at 7 PM. The program features Mr. Irvin and his exceptional violin in various ensemble settings in the beautiful Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center, performing music spanning the quarter-century life of the instrument.

The program includes:

  • Mozart – Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122

A cash bar is open at 6 PM and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry their drinks into the hall. The media sponsor for the River Rhapsodies Chamber Series is KUAR/KLRE.

General admission tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at, at the Clinton Presidential Center box office beginning 60 minutes prior to the concert, or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100

“Great instruments require skilled musician hands to come alive — yet in these hands, they become personified beings that dwell in a realm unshackled from the bonds of time — and in so doing, connect musicians across centuries through the uniquely profound relationship that musicians have with their instruments.  Mr. Irvin’s violin is a direct connection to musical history.  Its previous masters’ preferences are infused in is tone, their gaffes inscribed upon its body, and its surface is a story of centuries of perspiration and effort in service to art. Musicians are merely the caretakers, or curators, of these instruments for a short human lifespan, and this program is a celebration of not only an instrument’s anniversary, but of all the musicians since 1765 who have made it possible.”  Philip Mann, music director

About the violin

The violin was made by Nicolo Gagliano in approximately 1765 (Gagliano marked his violins by decade only, so the exact date is unknown) in Naples, Italy. Headed by Alessandro Gagliano, the Neapolitan school of violin makers is considered to be among the pinnacles of high quality musical artisanship. Alessandro’s son, Nicolo, is possibly the greatest of the Gagliano luthiers. His legacy began with his four sons employed in his workshop and lasted well into the 20th Century, ending when the firm of Vincenzo Gagliano and Sons closed in 1925.

Before 1820 violins had shorter necks set up for gut strings, which have lower tension than modern steel strings. Composers like Beethoven demanded higher pitches and more sound, which drove changes to violin constructions. Violins were refitted with a longer neck for an increased range and the body was reinforced to handle the increased tension of more resonant steel strings.

Michael Purcell of Philadelphia maintains the violin, and Mr. Irvin returns to his shop twice a year for maintenance.

FREE Arkansas Symphony concert today at UAMS

ASO_revThe Ruth Allen UAMS Series takes place from time to time at UAMS and is free.  This afternoon at 4:30pm will be the latest concert in the series.

The musicians today will be Violin/Harp duo: Drew Irvin, Co-Concert Master of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Alisa Coffey, Principal Harp of the ASO.

Bela Bartok: Rumanian Folk Dances
Camille Saint Saens: Fantasie for Violin and Harp, Op. 24
Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel
Gaetano Donizetti: Larghetto and Allegro for Violin and Harp
Vittorio Monti: Czardas
Jules Massenat: Meditation from Thais

As always, the concert is free and everyone is invited. It should be a nice way to start the holiday season. We look forward to seeing you there.

Here are the directions for the concert:

From Markham, turn south onto Hooper St.
Follow signs to Parking Lot 1.
Enter the lot, which goes underground.
Take the elevator to the “top” of the parking Lot 1, which immediately adjoins the back side of the lobby.
The Music Room is at the west end of the lobby, behind the grand piano.

Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestras perform “Side by Side” with members of the ASO tonight

asoyoThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Ensembles presents: Side by Side on May 2rd at 7 p.m. at the Robinson Center Music Hall.  Featuring all four ensembles, the concert culminates with the members of the top Youth Orchestra joining the ASO on stage and performing side by side with ASO professional musicians. Also featured is Stella Boyle Smith Concerto Competition winner, Hannah Cruse, oboe, performing as soloist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Adult tickets are $15; K-12 free, all seats are general admission. Tickets available at; 501-666-1761; at the Robinson Center beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 2nd.


Hannah Cruse, oboe

Casey Buck, conductor, Preparatory Orchestra

Kiril Laskarov, Andrew Irvin, conductors, Prelude Orchestra

Tom McDonald, conductor, Academy Orchestra

Geoffrey Robson, conductor, Youth Orchestra

Philip Mann, Music Director and conductor, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra



Preparatory Orchestra

Casey Buck, conductor

Arr.  Bob Phillips Sword Dance
Arr. Noah Klauss Loch Lomond
Richard Meyer Dragonhunter


Prelude Orchestra

Kiril Laskarov, Andrew Irvin, conductors

Eliot Del Borgo Concertino in G
Leopold Mozart/Arr. Rondeau Entrée and Allegro in C


Academy Orchestra

Tom McDonald, conductor

F. Handel Concerto Grosso in G op. 6 no. 1

  1.  Tempo giusto
  2.  Allegro
  3.  Allegro
Edward Barnes, Willem Mouw, violins

Eilis Jones, cello


Arr. Noah Klauss Concerto for 4 violins and cello in D op. 3 No. 1

  1.  Allegro
  2.  Allegro
Kevin Li, Angela Wang, Alex Small, Jalin Parry, violins

J.D. Hill, Cello


Arr. Brubaker Complete Harry Potter




Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor

W.A. Mozart Concerto for Oboe, K. 314

  1.  Allegro Aperto
Hannah Cruse, oboe



Side by Side

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra

Geoffrey Robson, Conductor, Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra

Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

D. Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

  1.  Allegro non troppo

Beethoven, Wagner, Ghosts and Tangos tonight at Ark Symphony’s River Rhapsodies

ASO_revTonight at 7pm, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s final 2013-2014 concert of the Parker Lexus River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series will feature ASO Musicians playing Wagner, Beethoven, Theofanidis and Piazzolla. The concert will be held at the Clinton Presidential Center.

The program is an intimate showcase of the ASO’s musicians.

General Admission tickets for River Rhapsodies concerts are $23, and Student tickets are available for $10. Tickets can be purchased online at, over the phone at (501) 666-1761 or at the door.

The program will include:

THEOFANIDIS                    O Vis Aeternitatis for String Quartet and Piano
(Quapaw Quartet, Tatiana Roitman, piano)

BEETHOVEN                      Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost”
I.          Allegro vivace e con brio
II.         Largo assai ed espressivo
III.        Presto
(Geoffrey Robson, violin, David Gerstein, cello, Julie Cheek, piano)


PIAZZOLLA                         Histoire du Tango
I. Bordello 1900
II.        Café 1930
III.       Night Club 1960
IV. Concert d’Aujourd’hui (Modern Day Concert)
(Kelly Johnson, Karla Fournier, Carina Washington, clarinet; Lyle Wong, bass clarinet)

WAGNER                              Siegfried Idyll
(Diane McVinney, flute; Leanna Booze, oboe; Kelly Johnson, Karla Fournier, clarinet; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; David Renfro, Brent Shires, French horn; Richard Jorgensen, trumpet; Kiril Laskarov, Andrew Irvin, violin; Katherine Reynolds, viola; Daniel Cline, cello; Barron Weir, contrabass)


Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio is so-called because of its eerie slow movement. It is speculated that the ghostly sound may have been influenced by Beethoven’s thoughts of  composing a Macbeth opera.

Originally written for flute and guitar, Histoire du Tango is one of Piazzolla’s most famous compositions. It has been arranged for many ensembles and is presented here as a demonstration of the lush sound of a clarinet quartet. The work attempts to demonstrate the evolution of the Tango, and the composer provided these notes:

Bordello, 1900: The tango originated in Buenos Aires in 1882. It was first played on the guitar and flute. Arrangements then came to include the piano, and later, the concertina. This music is full of grace and liveliness. It paints a picture of the good natured chatter of the French, Italian, and Spanish women who peopled those bordellos as they teased the policemen, thieves, sailors, and riffraff who came to see them. This is a high-spirited tango.

Café, 1930: This is another age of the tango. People stopped dancing it as they did in 1900, preferring instead simply to listen to it. It became more musical, and more romantic. This tango has undergone total transformation: the movements are slower, with new and often melancholy harmonies. Tango orchestras come to consist of two violins, two concertinas, a piano, and a bass. The tango is sometimes sung as well.

Night Club, 1960: This is a time of rapidly expanding international exchange, and the tango evolves again as Brazil and Argentina come together in Buenos Aires. The bossa nova and the new tango are moving to the same beat. Audiences rush to the night clubs to listen earnestly to the new tango. This marks a revolution and a profound alteration in some of the original tango forms.

Modern-Day Concert: Certain concepts in tango music become intertwined with modern music. Bartok, Stravinsky, and other composers reminisce to the tune of tango music. This is today’s tango, and the tango of the future as well.

Wagner composed Siegfried Idyll  – in honor of his son – for his wife, Cosima. The piece was very private and filled with references of personal significance to the composer and his wife, many of which went unknown to the public for a long time.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 48th season in 2013-2014.  Under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann, the ASO performs more than thirty concerts each year for more than 42,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series and River Rhapsodies Chamber Series, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 24,000 school children and over 200 schools.