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.


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.

April 12 Brown Bag with ASO Composer of the Year Michael Torke

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be hosting an opportunity to hear ASO Composer of the Year Michael Torke on Thursday, April 12 at a Brown Bag Lunch.  Mr. Torke will discuss his career as he has become one of the most successful living composers, his upcoming projects and some highlights of his piece, Mojave Marimba Concerto, which will be performed at ASO’s upcoming Desert & Sea concert. The discussion will be followed by a question and answer session.

Thursday, April 12, 2012
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch & Lecture
*Bring your own lunch. Drinks provided.

ASO Offices, St. John’s Catholic Campus: 2417 North Tyler Street, Little Rock, AR 72207
Byrne Hall

*Reserve your seats by emailing or calling 501-666-1761 ext 100.

ASO Ode to Beethoven

On the heels of this past weekend’s Arkansas Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the ASO River Rhapsodies chamber music series presents Ode to Beethoven.  It will take place this evening at 7pm at the Clinton Presidential Center.  Tickets are $22.

The program will feature Lutoslawski’s String Quartet and Grandjany’s Rhapsodie.  Michael Torke, the ASO Composer of the Year, will be represented with Chalk.  The evening will conclude with Beethoven’s String Quartet in F-minor Op. 95 “Serioso.”

Torke will also be highlighted at the ASO on April 14 and 15 with Desert and Sea. Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts is, in part, responsible for the ASO to host Torke this year.