Pianist Julie Cheek presents a solo program tonight as part of St. Luke’s Festival of the Senses

Pianist Julie Cheek will play a solo program of works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy in addition to other favorites at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 4106 JFK Boulevard.

The concert, the eighth in Festival of the Senses’ 2018−19 season, is free and open to the public. The performance, which will introduce Julie’s 60/60 Project, will be followed by a reception for the audience to share refreshments and meet the artist.

With 25 years experience as a classical solo entertainer on the world’s most prestigious cruise lines, pianist Julie Cheek brings dazzling virtuosity and humor to delight your event. As the only entertainer to ever score a perfect 10 on the Crystal Cruise Line, Julie understands that audiences want an experience that invites them into the magic realm of classical music, where every emotion is possible.

Julie weaves a seamless narrative about the music with her own experiences on the stage with programs that blend popular favorites with her own personal ones. Thousands of audience members have left Julie’s performances feeling the charm of this very special entertainer.

Music from Steinmetz, Debussy, and Poulenc Presented by Arkansas Symphony Musicians at Clinton Center

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fifth concert of the 2018-2019 River Rhapsodies Chamber Music season with Debussy & Poulenc, Tuesday, Apr. 16th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center.

ASO musicians present Debussy’s Violin Sonata, Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds, and music from Steinmetz.

River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Concerts are held in the intimate setting of the Clinton Presidential Center’s Great Hall. A cash bar is open before the concert and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry drinks into the concert. The Media Sponsor for the River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series is UA Little Rock Public Radio.

General Admission tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Clinton Presidential Center beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1.

Artists
Diane McVinney, flute
Leanna Renfro, oboe
Kelly Johnson, clarinet
Susan Bell León, bassoon
David Renfro, horn
Geoffrey Robson, violin
John Krebs, piano
Tatiana Roitman Mann, piano

Program

STEINMETZ – What’s Going On (Consortium Commission)
McVinney, L. Renfro, Johnson, León, D. Renfro

DEBUSSY – Violin Sonata
Robson, Krebs

POULENC – Sextet for Piano and Winds
McVinney, L. Renfro, Johnson, León, D. Renfro, Mann

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.

Free ASO concert at Capital Hotel tonight with Quapaw Quartet

ASO at CHMusicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be performing this evening in the lobby of the historic Capital Hotel. The music will start at 5:15 pm.

The concert will feature the Quapaw Quartet.  Members of the quartet will introduce the pieces to be performed: “A Little Night Music” featuring music from Mozart, Bernstein, and Debussy.

  • MOZART – Allegro from String Quartet K. 525
  • LLOYD WEBBER arr. Naughtin – The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera
  • MOZART – Romanza from String Quartet K. 525
  • DEBUSSY – Clair de Lune
  • MOZART – Menuetto and Trio from String Quartet K. 525
  • BERNSTEIN – Tonight from West Side Story
  • MOZART – Rondo from String Quartet K. 525

The members of the Quapaw Quartet are: Meredith Maddox Hicks, violin; Eric Hayward, violin; Ryan Mooney, viola; Ethan Young, cello.

Unlike concerts in music halls, guests here are encouraged to bring drinks to their seats or to stand and move around while the musicians are playing.  It is a relaxed, informal atmosphere where the audience and musicians alike are able to interact with each other.

In 2011, the ASO started these free concerts in the lobby of the Capital Hotel.  The marble and tile of this historic lobby provide a wonderful acoustic backdrop for the musicians.

ASO announces River Rhapsodies for 2012-2013

On the heels of the recent announcement of the 2012-2013 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks and Pops series, the ASO has unveiled next season’s River Rhapsodies Chamber Series.

It will kick off on October 2 when Augustin Hadelich will perform.  He will be featured on September 29 and 30 with the MasterWorks series as the Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction.  Joining him on the program will be the Quapaw String Quartet, the Rockefeller String Quartet and violinist Geoffrey Robson.  The works to be performed include Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54 No. 2; Webern’s Langsamer Satz; Yasye’s Violin Sonata in d minor, No. 3 “Ballade” and Tchaikovsky’s Sextet, Op. 70 “Souvenir de Florence.”

Appropriately the second concert of the series is entitled Duos.  On October 30, the concert will feature David Gerstein, cello; Andrew Irvin, violin; Tatiana Kotcherguina, viola; Ryan Mooney, viola; Geoffrey Robson, violin and Barron Weir, contrabass.  The program will feature Mozart’s Duo No. 1 in G for Violin and Viola; Rossini’s Duetto for Cello and Bass; Bridge’s Lament for Two Violas and Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7.

On November 13, the concert is entitled Masterworks and will feature the Quapaw String Quartet, Louis Menendez on piano and violinist Geoffrey Robson.  They will perform Ravel’sPiano Trio in a minor and Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 130 and Op. 133.

The Rockefeller String Quartet’s 10th anniversary will be highlighted in the fourth concert of the series.  They will perform Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44 No. 1; Glass’s String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima) and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 in D Major.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Composer of the Year Jennifer Higdon will be featured on February 26, 2013.  The musicians performing that night will be David Gerstein, cello; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Kiril Laskarov, violin; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; Meredith Maddox-Hicks; violin; Diane McVinney, flute; David Renfro, horn; Tatiana Roitman, piano and Beth Wheeler, oboe. The musical selections include Barber’s Summer Music; Higdon’s Piano Trio and Autumn Music and Shostokovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67.

Spring in Little Rock will be celebrated with Appalachian Spring on April 16.  A host of musicians will play a program including Crumb’s Voice of the Whale; Debussy’s Sonate en trio for Flute, Viola and Harp; Higdon’s Amazing Grace and Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  The performers will be Carl Anthony, piano; Carolyn Brown, flute; Daniel Cline and David Gerstein, cello; Alisa Coffey, harp; Leanne Day-Simpson, Eric Hayward, Andrew Irvin and Kiril Laskarov, violin; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; Ryan Mooney and Katherine Reynolds, viola and Barron Weir, contrabass.

The concerts will take place at 7pm at the Clinton Presidential Center.  Philip Mann is the music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

 

ASO Closes Out 2011-2012 MasterWorks This Weekend

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director/Conductor Philip Mann presents its final 2011-2012 MasterWorks concert this weekend.  Entitled Desert & Sea it features performances of works by Wagner, Torke, and Debussy.

Gerassimez

The program will commence with the Overture to Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.  Following that number will be the American premiere of Michael Torke’s Mojave Concerto for Marimba.  Torke is the inaugural ASO Composer of the Year.  The soloist on this selection is wunderkind marimbist Alexej Gerassimez.  The program concludes with Debussey’s La Mer.

The concerts take place at 8pm on Saturday, April 14 and 3pm on Sunday, April 15 at Robinson Center Music Hall.

About Michael Torke

Michael Torke has practically defined post-Minimalism, a music which utilizes the repetitive structures of a previous generation to incorporate musical techniques from both the classical tradition and the contemporary pop world.

Highlights of his career include: Color Music (1985–89), a series of orchestral pieces that each explore a single, specific color; Javelin, recorded both for Argo and for John William’s Summon the Heroes, the official 1996 Olympics album; Four Seasons, a 65-minute oratorio commissioned by the Walt Disney Company to celebrate the millennium and premiered by Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic; Strawberry Fields, whose “Great Performances” broadcast was nominated for an Emmy Award; and two evening-length story ballets, The Contract, and An Italian Straw Hat, for James Kudelka and the National Ballet of Canada.

About Alexej Gerassimez

Alexej Gerassimez was born in Essen, Germany in 1987 and received his first piano lessons at the age of five. Two years later he began to play percussion. After various early successes in competitions, among others 1st awards in the International Marimba Competition in Nuremberg, the European Music Competition for Youth, the Southwest-German Chamber Music Competition, four 1st awards including the highest number of possible points in Jugend Musiziert (a renowned national music competition for youths) and he won the Deutscher Musikrat-Competition (a national competition in all instrument categories for young adults) in 2010. In the same year he received the 1st award, the Audience Award and the Press Award in the TROMP Percussion Competition in the Netherlands, one of the most renowned international competitions for solo percussion. Today Alexej Gerassimez is presumed to be one of the leading percussion soloists of his generation.

His vivid performance activities have lead him to a wide range of European countries as well as to Japan, where he gave solo performances in Tokyo and Yokohama in the context of the German Year in 2006.

The multi-faceted young artist dedicates himself to composition, too. First publications with the Danish publisher Edition Svitzer have already been performed in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Europe.