Beethoven, Blue Jeans, and a Brace of Arkansas Composers on tap for ASO Weekend Concerts

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents the second concert of the 2019-2020 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks season: Beethoven and Blue Jeans, Saturday, November 9th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 10th at 3:00 p.m. in the Robinson Center.

The ASO is proud to present Beethoven and Blue Jeans, featuring the works of two Arkansan composers, Florence Price and William Grant Still, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica.”  Beethoven and Blue Jeans is sponsored by The DoubleTree Hotel. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.  The concerts will be under the baton of guest conductor Andrew Grams.

Interim Artistic Director, Geoffrey Robson, gives these notes: “Beethoven and Blue Jeans will feature your Arkansas Symphony performing two works by 20th century African-American composers with deep Little Rock roots. William Grant Still’s Festive Overture is a lively march that passes the virtuosic torch around to all sections of the orchestra. Florence Price is rapidly gaining long overdue notice for the powerful late-romantic style and unique harmonic idiom of her compositions; her music will be interpreted by guest artist pianist and scholar Karen Walwyn. The second half of the program is filled by Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony, a beloved work representing the dividing line between the Classical and Romantic eras.”

All people with a ticket to Beethoven and Blue Jeans are invited to the annual pre-concert street party: Symphony Local. The party is on W Markham St in front of the Robinson Center starting at 5:30 on Saturday and 1:00 on Sunday. ASO will serve free brats, Stone’s Throw Brewery will sell beer, and music will be provided by the Episcopal Collegiate Steel Drum Band, under the direction of ASO percussionist Erick Saoud. The Arkansas Food bank collect non-perishable food donations, and will provide any patrons who bring 10 items or more will receive a voucher good for two best available tickets to a future Masterworks or Pops Live! concert. To learn more visit http://www.ArkansasSymphony.org/party

Tickets are $16, $36, $57, and $70; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center street-level box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at https://www.arkansassymphony.org/freekids.

Join the ASO for 2nd Friday Art Night

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The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be participating in 2nd Friday Art Night!

They are setting up shop in The Bookstore at Library Square where they will have a Instrument Petting Zoo and information about the upcoming Beethoven and Blue Jeans Concert!

Come say hello and maybe try an instrument out for the first time!

5pm to 8pm.

Arkansas composers Florence Price and William Grant Still topic of noon Clinton School program today

In advance of the Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert, join conductor Andrew Grams and Linda Holzer, professor of music at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, on a discussion about the music of Arkansas composers William Grant Still and Florence Price.

It will take place at 12 noon at the Clinton School of Public Service.

American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences, and long-term orchestra building. He’s the winner of 2015 Conductor of the Year from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and has led orchestras throughout the United States. Now in his 7th ESO season, Andrew Grams became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search.

Florence Price was the first African-American female composer to have a symphonic composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. Born in Little Rock in 1887, she was valedictorian of her class at Little Rock’s Capitol Hill School.  After college, she returned to Little Rock, was married, and established a music studio, taught piano lessons, and wrote short pieces for piano.

The Prices moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1927. There, Price seemed to have more professional opportunity for growth despite the breakdown and eventual dissolution of her marriage.  In 1928, G. Schirmer, a major publishing firm, accepted for publication Price’s “At the Cotton Gin.” After winning several composition awards, she had a piece premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on June 15, 1933.

Price’s art songs and spiritual arrangements were frequently performed by well-known artists of the day. For example, contralto Marian Anderson featured Price’s spiritual arrangement “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” in her famous performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939. European orchestras later played Price’s works.

William Grant Still was long known as the Dean of African American composers. Though not born in Little Rock, he spent much of his youth in the city.

Dr. Still, who wrote more than 150 compositions ranging from operas to arrangements of folk themes, is best known as a pioneer. He was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphonic composition performed by a major orchestra.

He was the first African American to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the US; the first to conduct a major symphony in the south; first to conduct a white radio orchestra in New York City; first to have an opera produced by a major company. Dr. Still was also the first African-American to have an opera televised over a national network

 

 

Beethoven, Blue Jeans, Beer & Brats this weekend with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Image result for beethoven blue jeansThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, present the fifth concert of the 2018-2019 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks season, Beethoven & Blue Jeans, on Saturday, April 13th and Sunday, April 14th at the Robinson Center.

The annual Beer & Brats Street Party features beer from Stone’s Throw Brewery, free brats cooked on-site, t-shirts from Hillcrest Waterbugs, live music from the Episcopal Collegiate School Steel Band, and a food drive in partnership with Arkansas Foodbank. The party, located on the 400 block of West Markham in front of the Robinson Center, begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, and is free for anyone with a ticket to Beethoven & Blue Jeans.

The League of American Orchestras and Feeding America are partners in a program called Orchestras Feeding America. As part of this program, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Arkansas Foodbank work together each year for a food drive at Beethoven & Blue Jeans and other concerts. Any patron who brings at least 12 food items to the Beer & Brats Street Party will be given a voucher good for two free tickets to any future symphony subscription concert.

The concerts feature a casually dressed orchestra performing music from Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Enesco, and Tchaikovsky. Violinist Gareth Johnson is featured performing Ravel’s Tzigane and Beethoven’s Romance No. 2.

All concert ticket holders are also invited to Concert Conversations, a pre-concert talk one hour before each Masterworks concert in the Upper Tier Lobby of the Robinson Center. These talks feature insights from the Maestro and guest artists, and feature musical examples to enrich the concert experience.

Tickets are $16, $36, $57, and $68; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center street-level box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at https://www.arkansassymphony.org/freekids.

Program
SAINT-SAËNS                     Samson et Dalila: Bacchanale
RAVEL                                  Tzigane, rhapsodie de concert for Violin & Orchestra
BEETHOVEN                      Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op. 50

Intermission

TCHAIKOVSY                     Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a, TH 234
ENESCO                               Romanian Rhapsody in A Major, Op. 11, No. 1

The 2019-2020 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks season is announced

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced its 2019-2020 Masterworks which includes guest conductors and a concert conducted by Geoffrey Robson, ASO’s Associate Conductor who has been named Interim Artistic Director.

The Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series opens Sep. 28-29, 2019, with a concert presented in partnership with ACANSA Arts Festival of the South. Luminary conductor JoAnn Falletta is the first featured guest conductor, and American trio Time for Three is featured in work written for them by former ASO Conductor in Residence Jennifer Higdon. The program also features Ravel’s La Valse and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

ASO’s casual concert and street party, Beethoven and Blue Jeans, returns Nov. 9-10 and features works by two Arkansas composers: William Grant Still’s Festive Overture and Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Karen Walwyn, a specialist in the piano works of Price, is the featured soloist, and Andrew Grams will conduct the concert.

The Masterworks series ends May 2-3, 2020, featuring music from Fanny Mendelssohn and Schubert along with the return of prestigious cellist, Zuill Bailey, performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.

The 2019-2020 season coincides with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. ASO is celebrating by featuring two outstanding women conductors, JoAnn Falletta and Carolyn Kuan, two women soloists, pianist Karen Walwyn and violinist Simone Porter, and by performing works from four women composers: Pulitzer Prize-winner and former ASO Composer in Residence, Jennifer Higdon, an active and popular composer today, Little Rock’s own Florence Price, Lili Boulanger, and Fanny Mendelssohn.

The full Masterworks series includes:

  • JoAnn Falletta and Time for Three, Sep. 28 & 29, 219, with music from Higdon, Ravel, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
  • Beethoven & Blue Jeans, Nov. 9 & 10, 2019, ASO’s annual casual concert, featuring works from Arkansas composers Florence Price and William Grant Still and guest conductor Andrew Grams.
  • Copland’s Rodeo, Jan. 25-26, 2020, with guest conductor Carolyn Kuan, and music from Ginastera and Bartok;
  • Sibelius & Debussy, Feb. 29 – Mar. 1, 2020, conducted by Geoffrey Robson, and featuring a multimedia work: In Seven Days: A Concerto for Piano and Moving Image, with pianist Andrius Zlabys.
  • Symphonie Fantastique, Apr. 18-19, 2020, with guest conductor Eric Jacobsen, and violinist Simone Porter performing the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 in addition to the titular orchestral showpiece by Berlioz.
  • Zuill Bailey Plays Dvorak, May 2 & 3, 2020, with guest conductor Vladimir Kulenovic.

The concerts will be at Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Ludwig & Levis, or Beethoven & Blue Jeans at the Arkansas Symphony this weekend

ASO B&BThe annual audience favorite Beethoven & Blue Jeans concerts are this weekend with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra!

On the program for this year’s edition are Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93; Scott McAllister’s Black Dog; and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a.

Under the direction of music director/conductor Philip Mann, the ASO will feature soloist Kelly Johnson.  She is principal clarinetist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of Central Arkansas. Johnson has a CD, entitled Child’s Play: Stories, Songs, and Dances.

The concert times are 7:30pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. They will take place at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Again this year, the ASO is teaming up with the Arkansas Foodbank.  Attendees can support the Arkansas Foodbank during the much needed holiday season by dropping off a frozen turkey or other bird  before either concert and as a thank you, turkey donors will receive a pair of free tickets to any future concert from the ASO’s 2015-2016 Season.

 

Support Arkansas Foodbank and get tickets from Arkansas Symphony

Turkey Drive ASO AFBThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is holding their popular “Beethoven and Blue Jeans” concert on November 7th and 8th at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Attendees can support the Arkansas Foodbank during the much needed holiday season by dropping off a frozen turkey or other bird  before either concert and as a thank you, turkey donors will receive a pair of free tickets to any future concert from the ASO’s 2015-2016 Season.

The times for the concert are Saturday, November 7, at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 8, at 3pm.  A frozen turkey will help provide a healthy holiday meal to the ONE in FIVE Arkansans struggling with hunger and more importantly help bring families together during this time of year.

Tickets for the “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” concert are available online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org and via phone at 501-666-1761 or at the door. Tickets start at $19.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 50th season in 2015-2016, under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than sixty concerts each year for more than 165,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series, River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series, and numerous concerts performed around the state of Arkansas, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 26,000 school children and over 200 schools.

The Arkansas Foodbank, the largest food bank in Arkansas, is a member of Feeding America and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Its warehouse in Little Rock and Warren serve approximately 300 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools, colleges, and other agencies that provide aid directly to hungry Arkansans. Last year, the Foodbank distributed more than 22 million pounds of food to agencies that help feed the hungry. For more information on how you can fight hunger, visit the Foodbank website at www.arkansasfoodbank.org