Mozart & Tchaikovsky at Arkansas Symphony this weekend, featuring violin prodigy Randall Goosby

Randall Goosby

Randall Goosby

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO), Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fourth concert in the 2014-2015 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Tchaikovsky and Mozart Festival. The concert takes place at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.

The ASO, under the baton of guest conductor Vladimir Verbitsky, is joined by young violin virtuoso Randall Goosby for Mozart’s Concerto for Violin in A Major. Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from Eugene Onegin and his epic Symphony No. 4 are also presented on the program. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust. The concert sponsor is the National Endowment for the Arts.

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 are can be purchased online at; 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.

Randall Goosby, violin
Vladimir Verbitsky, guest conductor

TCHAIKOVSKY: Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
MOZART: Concerto for Violin No. 5 in A Major, K. 219
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36


Eugene Onegin is Tchaikovsky’s most popular opera, and the Polonaise is heard during a ballroom scene in Act Three.

Mozart composed the last four of his five violin concertos in December of 1775. With lyrical intensity bordering on the operatic, a slow and heartfelt true Adagio, and a firey, virtuosic rondo in the style of a minuet as a finale, Violin Concerto No. 5  is the most accomplished of its brethren.

Symphony No. 4 was composed around the same time period as Tchaikovsky’s popular opera, Eugene Onegin. Speaking of the harsh opening brass fanfare (which recurs throughout the work), the composer writes, “This is Fate, the power which hinders one in the pursuit of happiness from gaining the goal, whose jealousy provides that peace and comfort do not prevail, that the sky is not free from clouds – a might that swings, like the sword of Damocles, constantly over the head, that poisons continually the soul. This might is overpowering and invincible. There is nothing to do but submit and vainly to complain.”

Violinist Randall Goosby at Mosaic Templars this morning, presented by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

ASO GoosbyToday at 10 a.m., the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, in partnership with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO), presents Randall Goosby.

A young African American violin prodigy, Goosby won the prestigious Sphinx competition at age 13. Goosby is currently enrolled at Juilliard under the instruction of world-class violinists, Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. Goosby is the January guest violinist for ASO and will perform Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with the orchestra January 31 and February 1.

For more information, call Elvon Reed at 501-683-3592 or email

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Grants for Rep, ASO announced by National Endowment for the Arts

nea-logo-960Two Little Rock cultural institutions were among the nine Arkansas recipients of National Endowment for Arts grants recently announced.

These were Art Works and Challenge America grants. Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre received $10,000 to support the production of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man. This play is set during Passover 1865.  As the annual celebration of freedom from bondage is being observed in Jewish homes, a wounded Confederate officer returns from the Civil War to find his family missing and only two former slaves remaining.

The Rep  will partner with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Jewish Federation of Arkansas to explore the play’s themes and the role of both the African-American and Jewish communities in Arkansas history.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 Little to support performances, workshops, and related outreach activities featuring violinist Randall Goosby. Goosby, the first-place winner of the 2010 Sphinx Competition, will be in residence in Central Arkansas conducting free workshops and music demonstrations for community members and student musicians drawn from economically disadvantaged schools.

In addition, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville received $10,000 for its Arkansas New Play Festival. This is presented in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Little Rock performances are in conjunction with the Arkansas Rep.

Other Arkansas recipients were the Walton Arts Center, Fort Smith Symphony, Sonny Boy Blues Society (for the King Biscuit Blues Festival), Low Key Arts of Hot Springs, Ozarks Foothills Film Festival and John Brown University.

ASO Masterworks for 2014-2015 announced

ASO_revThough there are several concerts remaining in each of their series, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has announced three of their 2014-2015 series.

Next year is the first of their two-year hiatus from Robinson Center Music Hall (as it gets transformed into a true music hall instead of a civic gathering room).

The Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series will be performed at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center. To entice audiences who have been used to attending Robinson for ASO concerts for 40 years, Music Director Philip Mann has programmed a line up with many familiar composers. In addition, an Oscar winning musical genius will be presented.

The series will kick off on September 27 & 28 with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring Andrew Staupe on piano.  Also on the program will be John Corigliano’s Promenade Overture and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major.  Corigliano is the Oscar winner, having won for composing the score of The Red Violin.

On October 18 & 19, the ASO will heat things up with Blazing Brass featuring trumpeter Richard Jorgensen.  The program will consist of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major.

The now annual Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert will be November 8 & 9. Sharon Isbin’s guitar work will be featured as the ASO plays Corigliano’s Three Hallucinations from Altered States as well as his Troubadours-Variations for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra.  The Beethoven portion of the evening will be his Symphony No. 5 in C minor.

The Masterworks series will ring in 2015 on January 31 & February 1 with a Tchaikovsky & Mozart Festival.  Vladimir Verbitsky will be guest conductor. The evening will feature violin soloist Randall Goosby.  The program consists of Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s Concerto for Violin No. 5 in A Major, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor.

On February 28 and March 1, the ASO will present Schubert’s “Unfinished.”  In addition to that masterpiece, the musicians will play Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger and Brahms’ Concerto for Violin in D. Major.

The Masterworks Series for 2014-2015 will conclude with an evening of Mozart, Prokofiev & Strauss.  Pianist Yeol Eum Son will be the featured guest artist.  The program will consist of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major – Jupiter, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59 Suite.

All Masterworks concerts will be performed at 7:30pm on Saturday evenings and 3pm on Sunday evenings.

The other ASO series will be previewed by the Culture Vulture in the coming days.