On Oct. 12 at 8 p.m., the Akron Symphony Orchestra will celebrate 40 years performing at EJ Thomas Hall with a collaboration that features three stars of The University of Akron's School of Music. The concert takes place almost 40 years to the day of its first performance when the hall opened in 1973.
Akron Symphony Music Director Christopher Wilkins will lead the orchestra with UA Director of Orchestras, Guy Bordo making an appearance to conduct Brahms Academic Festival Overture. UA Professor of Clarinet and Akron Symphony principal clarinet, Kristina Belisle Jones will solo on Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, "Collateral Damage," written by UA Professor of Composition, Nik Resanovic. The concert will conclude with Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), featuring Akron Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster and UA Professor of Violin, Alan Bodman.
"I am truly looking forward to this Akron Symphony concert," said Akron Symphony Orchestra concertmaster, Alan Bodman. "Not only will I have the pleasure of performing the dramatic and expressive violin solo part in the Strauss Ein Heldenleben with our wonderful orchestra and music director Chris Wilkins, but I will also share the spotlight with some of my outstanding colleagues in the University of Akron School of Music. This 40th Anniversary Concert is a great collaboration between two of Akron's premiere musical institutions and promises to be a night to remember!"
Maestro Christopher Wilkins returns to lead the Akron Symphony Orchestra on Opening Night of its 2013-2014 season. The Akron Symphony's own Levi Hammer will take the spotlight on the Three Graces Piano for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25. Nelson's Savannah River Holiday will begin the opening concert of the season and Brahms' 1st Symphony will close the program. The Akron Symphony Orchestra's Opening Night concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 15 at The University of Akron's EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
"I'm thrilled to start this season with an excursion into lively American waters with Nelson's Savannah River Holiday and the grandeur and mastery of Brahms 1st Symphony, a worthy successor to Beethoven's greatest works," said Akron Symphony Music Director Christopher Wilkins. "But the highlight of the evening is surely having Mozart's most attractive concerto performed by our very talented assistant conductor, Levi Hammer."
The Akron Symphony, in collaboration with GroundWorks Dance Theater, will join forces on Saturday, April 13, 2013 to present Rite of Spring, the first full-scale production of an Akron Symphony Classics Series concert. Rite of Spring is the first true partnership between the Akron Symphony and GroundWorks Dance Theater. More than 100 musicians and 23 professional and student dancers from around Akron and throughout Summit County, will come together to bring Stravinsky's controversial masterpiece to life in honor of the 100th anniversary of its debut performance.
According to David Shimotakahara, Artistic Director of GroundWorks, "Eight of the dancers will be with GroundWorks and the remaining fifteen are what we call the student ensemble. We auditioned at nine different locations in Summit County – universities, dance training programs, and public high, middle and elementary schools. So there is a wide range of training and experience levels. But that was by choice. We wanted there to be a wide range of participants."
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was a tidal wave that changed history, and it still holds that kind of power. To be able to put the music together with the art form it was created to support provides a remarkably powerful experience for the audience in and of itself. But to do it with a community of professional and student dancers and to put them on-stage with the full Akron Symphony Orchestra is a special kind of challenge that requires passion, vision and a willingness to be bold.
The Akron Symphony launched its pre-holiday, 3-2-1 tickets sale. Through midnight on Friday, Nov. 30, buyers can save more than 50 percent on tickets for all remaining concerts this season. The 3-2-1 Sale officially runs Nov. 28 - Nov. 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the first time, and only during this special event, discount tickets can also be purchased online. The online sale started at midnight on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26 and runs through midnight on Friday, Nov. 30.
"We are pleased to once again offer great tickets at a reduced price just in time for gift-giving or a holiday outing," said Joanne Green, the Akron Symphony's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. "Although we always offer ticket discounts for students, seniors and groups, we hope the 3-2-1 Sale give more community members incentive to come out and experience our fabulous Akron Symphony Orchestra."
The Akron Symphony Orchestra continues the Classics Series with Rhapsody in Blue, featuring popular favorites by American classical music masters Bernstein, Barber and Gershwin. Led by Maestro Christopher Wilkins and featuring a piano solo by Levi Hammer, Rhapsody in Blue takes place at 8 pm on Saturday, October 13th at The University of Akron’s EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
“George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is rightly considered a keystone of American music. Its marriage of popular and serious styles is by now part of the signature American sound,” said Maestro Wilkins. “Gershwin’s uncanny gift for combining unforgettable melodies and vibrant rhythms has made the work a modern icon. It will be a thrill for the audience to hear our own Levi Hammer perform it.”
The Greater Akron Musical Association recently selected Douglas A. Bayda, the director of orchestras at Akron's Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, as the new director of the greater Akron Youth Philharmonic (AYP). He will begin as director of AYP at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
The Director oversees the Akron Youth Philharmonic and prepares members for performances during a 20-week season, which extends from November through March. The director plans, programs and conducts weekly rehearsals and three annual concerts, selects appropriate music for the season, organizes auditions and works with the director of the Akron Youth Symphony (AYS) to coordinate an annual side-by-side concert.
"I am very honored to be working with the Greater Akron Youth Philharmonic," Bayda said. "This ensemble has a long tradition of excellence. I'm excited to be part of the musical journey its members will take."
The Akron Symphony Orchestra season opens on Sept. 15 with its first Classics Series concert featuring some of the best loved music of the stage. Maestro Christopher Wilkins will launch the 2012-2013 season of the Akron Symphony with an energetic opening night program featuring Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Strauss's youthful tone poem, Don Juan and Tchaikovsky's popular 5th symphony. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 at The University of Akron's EJ Thomas Hall. Previews from the Podium, a program discussion with Maestro Wilkins, will precede the concert at 7 p.m.
"All three works fit easily into the category of best loved music of all time," said Maestro Christopher Willkins, music director and conductor of the Akron Symphony Orchestra. "One thing you can count on at opening night is that the musicians of the Akron Symphony will create the wow factor all night long."
The Akron Symphony proudly announces its 2012-2013 season, once again featuring seven Classics Series concerts, three Pops Series concerts, the 20th anniversary celebration of Gospel Meets Symphony, the Akron Symphony Chorus Spring Concert and the Concerts for Kids series. Opening Night takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15th, 2012 at The University of Akron's EJ Thomas Hall.
One of the highlights of the Akron Symphony's 61st anniversary season pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring through a unique collaboration between the Akron Symphony Orchestra and GroundWorks DanceTheater with artistic direction and choreography by David Shimotakahara. The Rite of Spring concert (April 13, 2013) is made possible with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Akron Symphony celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by welcoming two superstars of the American Musical scene to The University of Akron’s EJ Thomas Hall on Saturday, March 17th. Guest conductor, John Morris Russell, is the newly appointed Music Director of the Cincinnati Pops and a popular former assistant conductor of the Akron Symphony. Teenage violin sensation, Chad Hoopes, calls Northeast Ohio home, even as he finds himself in demand as a soloist throughout the world. The program is a Romantic tour de force, featuring Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.
Gospel Meets Symphony returns to The University of Akron’s EJ Thomas hall for its 19th annual performance on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. For one night only, the Akron Symphony’s 200-voice Gospel Meets Symphony Choir fuses with the full Akron Symphony Orchestra to perform gospel and classical music.
Gospel Meets Symphony is considered Akron’s premiere collaborative concert, bringing the greater Akron community together for an evening of inspiration and celebration under the direction of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor Maestro Christopher Wilkins. Gospel Meets Symphony also features appearances by special guests The LeGrair Brothers. Chorus Master Jennifer Mekel Jones will lead the choir.
“Gospel is all about good news. Symphony brings musical genius to life. Each can stand alone, but it's pure magic to see them come together,” said Jones. “This year we will tell the stories and breathe new perspective into old tradition. It's all about a promise, and I assure you won’t be able to stay in your seat.”
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