2016-2017 ASO season starts with UNESCO Artist for Peace Elisso Bolkvadze

ASO NewThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the first concert of the 2016-2017 season with Opening Night: Mozart, Schubert & Mayhem, Saturday, October 1st at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 2nd at 3:00 p.m. at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center. The concert will include ASO Composer of the Year Stephanie Berg’s Ravish and Mayhem, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 featuring Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction, Elisso Bolkvadze, recently named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Concert Conversations – All concert ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert lecture an hour before each Masterworks concert. These talks feature insights from the Maestro and guest artists, and feature musical examples to enrich the concert experience.

Shuttle service is available – The ASO provides shuttle service from Second Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Valley to the Maumelle Performing Arts Center and back after the concert. For more information and to purchase fare, please visit http://www.ArkansasSymphony.org/shuttle.

Tickets are $14, $39, $55, and $67; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at http://www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center 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 http://www.arkansassymphony.org/freekids.


Philip Mann, conductor 
Elisso Bolkvadze, piano – Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction
Stephanie Berg – Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Composer of the Year



Stephanie Berg — Ravish and Mayhem
Mozart — Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K 467
Schubert — Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D 485


Program Notes:
Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 was part of the “golden dozen” concerti produced when the composer relocated to Vienna. Known for being deeper and more mature, these pieces were premiered by Mozart himself and later served as inspiration for such romantic titans as Beethoven and Brahms.

About Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 50th season in 2016-2017, 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, Intimate Neghborhood Concerts, 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.

Ark Symphony Concerts This Weekend


The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform with fiery Georgian pianist Elisso Bolkvadze on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Robinson Center Music Hall. This is the second concert of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series and is sponsored in part by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The concert opens with To the Point by Jennifer Higdon, ASO Composer of the Year. Then Bolkvadze continues the program with Saint-Saëns much-loved 2nd concerto. ASO Music Director Philip Mann describes the work as, “full of captivating dance rhythms, grand flourishes, and melodies that stick with you.” The ASO then takes center stage again for the remainder of the program with Sibelius’s marvelous and influential 5th Symphony.

Elisso Bolkvadze won numerous international piano competitions, such as Van Cliburn (USA), Vianna da Motta (Lisbon, Portugal), Axa International Piano Competition (Dublin, Ireland), Marguerite Long (Paris, France).

A superstar in her country of birth in Georgia, Elisso has been awarded by Georgian Government “The award of Georgian Government” and “Cultural Merit.” After she enjoyed great success at Van Cliburn International Contest, she plays many concerts in top auditorium through the world, like Kennedy Centre (Washington), Pasadena Auditorium (Los Angeles), Santa Fe Festival, Miami Arts In Florida, Orange County Center, Salle Pleyel, Salle Gaveau (Paris) Gewandhaus Orchestra (Leipzig) Radio France Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia), Herkulessaal (Munich) Alte Oper (Frankfurt), National Philharmonic of Ukraine, Georgian National Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, and Theatre de Champs Elysees (Paris).

Arkansas Symphony 2012-2013 Masterworks and Pops

Continuing with the Spring Break theme of looking to next year, today’s entry looks at the 2012-2013 Masterworks and Pops offerings from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will kick off the 2012-2013 season on September 29 and 30 with a Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks concert featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich returning to play Eduoard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole.  Also on the program are Strauss’ Don Juan and von Dohanyi’s Suite in F-sharp Minor. ASO Musical Director/Conductor Philip Mann will conduct.

The ASO next turns to the Pops series. The Acxiom Pops Live! series starts on October 6 & 7 with the Beatles tribute act Classical Mystery Tour. ASO Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson will lead this concert.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon will be the ASO Composer of the Year for 2012-2013.  Her composition To the Point will be featured on the ASO’s second Masterworks concert on October 20 and 21.  That concert will also featured pianist Elissa Bolkkvadze performing Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.

On November 10 and 11, the ASO’s annual “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” concert will showcase Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto featuring soloist Wu Man. Also on the program is the overture to Beethoven’s only ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.  The evening will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

For many families, it isn’t the holidays without the annual ASO Happy Holidays concert.  In 2012 it will take place on December 14-16.  Plan accordingly.

In January, the ASO will start 2013 with guest conductor Guillermo Figueroa, music director of the New Mexico Symphony and Colorado’s Music in the Mountains Festival on January 26 and 27.  ASO principal cellist David Gerstein will solo on Tchaikovsky’s Variationson a Rococo Theme.  The concerts will also include Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.

Returning to Pops, on February 9 and 10, the ASO will present “A Night at the Movies.”  Later that month, the ASO will feature Composer of the Year Higdon again on February 23 and 24.  In addition to her blue cathedral, the program will include Haydn’s No. 95 in C minor and Shostakovich’s No. 10 in E minor.

The ASO will march into March with a celebration of the American Songbook on the Pops schedule on March 16 and 17.

The Masterworks season will conclude on April 13 and 14, 2013.  Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring Midori will be the centerpiece of the evening.  Also on the bill will be the overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro as well as Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

The final concert of the 2012-2013 season will be in the Pops series: Cirque de la Symphonie.  This concert, on May 11 and 12, will featured six Cirque du Soleil veterans performing to music accompanied by the ASO.

Sponsors for the 2012-2013 season are the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Acxiom and American Airlines.