Artober – Behind the Scenes. An Arkansas Symphony Orchestra rehearsal in 2017

Image may contain: 2 people, people sittingOctober is Arts and Humanities Month nationally and in Little Rock. Americans for the Arts has identified a different arts topic to be posted for each day in the month. Today’s focus is “Behind the Scenes.”

In 2017, I had the rare privilege of sitting on the stage during an Arkansas Symphony Orchestra rehearsal. These are some of the photos I took from that time.  It was exciting to not only hear the music up close but the see the musicians interact with each other on breaks. My appreciation for the ASO musicians (which was already high) grew even more so that evening.

As I was seated next to the violins, most of the photos are of the strings section.  I tried to be as subtle as possible in taking the photos.

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Concert in memory of longtime ASO violinist Eric Hayward presented tonight

Eric and Christopher Hayward

On Tuesday, September 17, in the first concert of Festival of the Senses’ 2019-20 performing arts season, a string ensemble will play Tchaikovsky’s celebrated Piano Trio in A Minor and a new piano quartet, “The Black Rose,” composed by Little Rock’s Dustin Yoder in memory of Eric Hayward of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO).

The free concert will be held at 7:00 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4106 JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock, and will feature ASO Concertmaster Kiril Laskarov on violin, Stephen Feldman on cello, May Tsao-Lim on piano, and Eric Hayward’s son, Christopher Hayward, on the viola. A reception will be held in the parish hall following the performance.

“Eric Hayward was our friend and colleague in the Arkansas Symphony and we miss him dearly,” says Kiril Laskarov. “Eric loved chamber music, so we thought the best way to honor his memory was to present this program. We combine one of the greatest chamber music pieces in the literature, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio, which was dedicated to another great musician, the pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, with the world premiere of a piano quartet entitled ‘The Black Rose,’ which was composed by Eric’s student Dustin Yoder and will feature Chris Hayward, Eric’s son, on the viola.”

Eric Hayward (1954-2018) was an associate concertmaster and principal second violinist with the ASO for 38 years and a founding member of Arkansas’ premier string quartet, the Quapaw String Quartet. Following his death in 2018, the ASO established a principal second violin chair in his memory. He held degrees from Oregon State and Northwestern Universities and studied at the University of Iowa, taught violin and viola privately and in a number of local schools, and played in various concerts at St. Luke’s since before the inception of Festival of the Senses.

Christopher Hayward began his musical education following in his father’s footsteps on violin but later changed to the viola. A 2006 graduate of Little Rock Central High School, he attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and is now married and lives and works in Maumelle. He has played in the Arkansas Youth Orchestra, All-Region Orchestra, All-State Orchestra, and the Missouri All-Collegiate Orchestra.

Dustin Yoder, currently resident composer for WAMA, the music and arts camp of Little Rock’s Wildwood Park for the Arts, is a local musician and former student of Eric Hayward. He was a 2015 violin finalist for the High School Honors Performance Series Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He teaches private lessons locally, plays part-time in the ASO, has composed scores for a number of short films, and is a self-taught painter.

THE PROGRAM

Piano Trio in A Minor, Opus 50 – Pezzo Elegiaco
  Dedicated to Nikolai Rubinstein (1835−1881)
by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840−1893)

Piano Quartet in C Minor, “The Black Rose”
  Dedicated to Eric Hayward (1954−2018)
by Dustin Yoder (b. 1996)

Piano Trio in A Minor, Opus 50 – A. Tema con Variazioni; B. Finale e Coda
by Tchaikovsky

Beethoven’s Triple Concerto highlights final Arkansas Symphony Orchestra concert of 2018-2019 season

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Laskarov, Mann, and Gerstein in rehearsal

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra closes out the 2018-2019 season with its final I.N.C., Intimate Neighborhood Concerts, performance.  It is tonight (May 23) at 7pm at Calvary Baptist Church, 5700 Cantrell Road.

The program features Karlowicz’s Serenade for Strings, Op. 2; Moszkowski’s Prelude and Fuge, Op. 85; and Beethoven’s Concerto Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 56.  Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Philip Mann is the conductor.

The ASO Intimate Neighborhood Concerts series is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fantastic music in gorgeous, acoustically unique venues around Little Rock. The concerts offer special, intimate performances where patrons can get up – close and personal with chamber orchestra ensembles performing pieces in perfect settings. In addition to hearing these beautiful works, concertgoers are invited to mingle with the musicians after the concerts.

Soloists tonight are Kiril Laskarov, violin; David Gerstein, cello, and Tatiania Roitman Mann, piano.

Kiril Laskarov is in his 20th season as Concertmaster of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. A native of Bulgaria, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State Academy of Music in Sofia and a Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he studied with Prof. Michael Barta.

David Gerstein, a devoted performer of chamber and contemporary music has played concerts all over the world, from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the Great Wall of China. Mr. Gerstein has recently appeared in concert with the Ying Quartet, flutist Leone Buyse, clarinetist Michael Webster, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, soprano Renee Fleming, cellist Fred Sherry, violinist Jonathan Carney, and Vern Sutton of The Prairie Home Companion.

Tatiana Roitman Mann has appeared as a soloist and recitalist across North America and Europe. The BBC hailed her performance of G. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Oxford Pops Orchestra as “formidable…both accurate and with rarely seen joy.” Mann’s radio broadcasts include H.Villa-Lobos’ Mystic Sextet, on NPR’s Performance Today.

Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles in concert tonight

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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 atwww.ArkansasSymphony.org

 

Creative Class 2016: Kiril Laskarov

cc-laskarovKiril Laskarov is currently in his 17th season as Concertmaster of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Earlier this year, he was also the featured soloist for the ASO playing  a 300-year-old priceless Stradivarius violin .

A native of Bulgaria, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State Academy of Music in Sofia and Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Kiril was the winner of the 1995 Bulgarian National Competition.  He  has appeared as a soloist with the Arkansas Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Southern Illinois Symphony, Abilene (TX) Philharmonic, and Texarkana (TX) Symphony, and also presented recitals in Little Rock, Memphis, Kansas City, and Dallas.

For over a decade, he has taught orchestral music at Episcopal  Collegiate School, in addition to his busy symphonic and chamber music schedule.

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 www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Clinton Presidential Center beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100.

Artists

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

 

Program

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

Firebird Suite headlines ASO Masterworks Concert this weekend

ASO firebirdThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the first 2016 concert of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Firebird Suite, 7:30 PM Saturday, January 30 and 3:00 PM Sunday, January 31, 2016, at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Under the baton of music director Philip Mann, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform Rossini’s La gazza ladra: Overture, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 – featuring ASO co-concertmaster Kiril Laskarov, Visconti’s Black Bend and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. 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.

Tickets are $19, $35, $49, and $58; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at 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 the ASO website.

Kiril Laskarov, ASO Concertmaster for 17 years, steps to the front of the orchestra to perform Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto. The tradition of the concertmaster as a featured soloist with the orchestra is long and healthy, and the ASO is proud to present Mr. Laskarov with this work. Featured soloist Kiril Laskarov will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on this “golden period” Stradivarius violin. These instruments are world famous and highly sought-after for there unique sound and quality. “Le Brun” was notably played by the famed violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini.

Composer Dan Visconti has spent the week in Little Rock for residency activities, including private lessons with high school students, presentations to classes, and speaking engagements.

About Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

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.