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April 19 2010 12:00 AM

Concerts feature collaborations with familiar local faces



    LSOonline.jpgLansing
    has produced its share of talented musicians, and many of them have moved on to
    other cities in search of new opportunities. Timothy Muffitt’s mission: Bring
    ‘em back home. That’s
    one of what Muffitt calls the “unspoken themes” of the 2010-11 Lansing Symphony
    Orchestra season, Muffitt’s fifth as music director/conductor of the LSO.


    “The
    purpose of music programs in school, of course, is to develop the person, not
    to make them into a professional musician,” Muffitt said. “But it’s a nice
    fringe benefit when we have these people who come through these programs and go
    on to become successful. So we’re celebrating home-grown talent.”


    The
    celebration begins with the opening MasterWorks concert of the season on Sept.
    10.The guest artists will be the
    members of Trio Terzetto, featuring Okemos native and celebrated cellist Tanya
    Ell.


    Violinist
    Melissa White — one-time concertmaster of the Lansing Junior Symphony and now a
    member of the Harlem Quintet — performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at the
    fifth MasterWorks concert on March 26. Glenn Seven Allen, the tenor who’ll join
    the LSO for their holiday Pops on Dec. 12,“is a graduate of East Lansing High School who has gone on
    to become successful in theater and opera,” Muffitt said.


    Muffitt
    is equally excited about the other guest artists on the roster for the next
    season. “Michael Gurt is an absolutely electrifying pianist,” he said of the
    guest artist for the Oct. 1 MasterWorks concert who will perform Tchiakovsky’s
    Piano Concerto No. 1. “No one has ever heard that piece the way he’s going to
    play it.”


    Yolanda
    Kondonassis, who’ll join the LSO for the Jan. 8 MasterWorks program, is “one of
    most sought-after harpists on the planet. She’ll be playing two extraordinary
    pieces,” Ginastera’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra and Debussy’s Danses
    Sacree et Profane.


    “To
    close our season, we have the truly extraordinary Anton Nel,” Muffitt said. “I
    did a concert with him and the San Francisco Symphony, and he’s a beautiful
    pianist.”


    Nel
    will be spotlighted April 16 in an evening that explores what Muffitt calls
    “one of the really remarkable relationships in music: Ravel and (George)
    Gershwin. They were great admirers of each other. Gershwin invited Ravel to
    come to New York and took him to Harlem to hear jazz on its home turf. You can
    hear Ravel in Gershwin’s music and Gershwin in Ravel’s music, so I thought it
    would be interesting to pair their music on a program.”


    Although he’s proud of the upcoming
    season, Muffitt said the LSO has not been spared some of the financial
    headaches and difficult choices brought about by cuts in arts funding.“We have to watch the bottom line very,
    very carefully,” he said. “It’s precarious — that’s the reality.


    “We
    as an organization are obviously operating with maximum efficiency, and we’re
    able to make it work because everyone’s giving everything they’ve got. What we
    won’t do is sacrifice on the quality of what we do.”


    One
    event that fell by the wayside: the annual Halloween family concert. “That’s a
    huge loss,” Muffitt said, “because to me that’s a part of what we want to be,
    to be engaging families in that way.”


    However,
    the LSO will be continuing its series of family concerts; Muffitt said last
    season’s concerts brought in 3,000 schoolchildren. “Our educational initiative
    remains strong, but we have to be practical,” he said. “We’re maintaining a
    broad interface with many different kinds of music and many different kinds of
    programs while maintaining the quality.“


    2010/2011 MasterWorks Series


    (All concerts at Wharton Center for
    Performing Arts. Six-concert subscriptions to the MasterWorks Series range from
    $66 to $252. Four-concert Sampler subscriptions range from $44 to $164. Single
    tickets start at $12.)



    8
    p.m. Saturday, September 10


    MasterWorks
    1: Beethoven’s Triple


    Conductor:
    Timothy Muffitt


    Guest:
    Trio Terzetto, featuring cellist and Okemos native Tanya Ell


    Program
    highlights: Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek, Overture to Donna Diana; Beethoven’s
    Triple; Brahms’ Symphony No. 2



    8 p.m. Friday,
    October 1


    MasterWorks 2:
    Tchaikovsky & Sibelius


    Conductor:
    Timothy Muffitt


    Guest:
    Michael Gurt, pianist


    Program
    highlights: Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis;
    Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1; Sibelius, Symphony No. 5



    8 p.m.
    Saturday, December 4


    MasterWorks
    3: Songs of Winter


    Conductor:
    David Rayl, Guest Conductor


    Guest:
    David Small, baritone


    Program
    highlights: Vivaldi, “Winter”; Rutter, When Icicles Hang; Bloch, Sacred Service



    8 p.m. Saturday,
    January 8


    MasterWorks
    4: Exotic Sketches


    Conductor:
    Timothy Muffitt


    Guest:
    Yolanda Kondonassis, harpist


    Program
    highlights: Ginastera, Concerto for Harp and Orchestra; Rossini, Overture to La
    Gazza Ladra; Debussy, Danses Sacre et Profane; Respighi, Pines of Rome



    8 p.m. Saturday, March 26



    MasterWorks 5:
    Passion & Fury


    Conductor:
    Timothy Muffitt


    Guest:
    Lansing native Melissa White, violinist


    Program
    highlights: Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto; Haydn, Symphony No. 49 “La Passione”;
    selections from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, including “Ride of the Valkyries”



    8 p.m. Saturday, April 16



    MasterWorks 6:
    Exploring Gershwin & Ravel


    Conductor:
    Timothy Muffitt


    Guest:
    Anton Nel, pianist


    Program
    highlights: Gershwin, Cuban Overture; Ravel, Piano Concerto and Piano Concerto
    for the Left Hand; Gershwin, An American in Paris



    2010/2011 Pops Series


    (All concerts at Wharton Center for
    Performing Arts. Three-concert subscriptions to the Pop Series range from $33
    to $108.Single tickets start at
    $12.)



    8
    p.m. Friday, October 15: Cirque de la Symphonie



    3 p.m. Sunday,
    December 12: Holiday Pops, featuring East Lansing native Glenn Seven Allen



    8
    p.m. Friday, February 24: Spectrum: The Music of Motown




    2010/2011
    Chamber Series


    (Four-concert
    subscriptions to the Chamber Series are $56 for adults and $28 for students.
    Single tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.)



    3
    p.m. Sunday, September 19, Plymouth Congregational Church: Icarus, featuring
    flutist Richard Sherman, cellist Robert DeMaine and pianist James Wilhelmsen



    3
    p.m. Sunday, November 7, Plymouth Congregational Church: “A Bundle of Sticks,”
    featuring bassoonist Michael Kroth



    8
    p.m. Saturday, February 12 and 3 p.m. Sunday, February 13 at Dart Auditorium,
    Lansing Community College: CONNECT: Lansing Symphony & Happendance



    3
    p.m. Sunday, March 13, Plymouth Congregational Church: Arcos Trio, featuring
    violinist Seunghee Lee, cellist Carl Donakowski and pianist Anthony Padilla.



    2010/2011 Big Band Concerts


    (Tickets
    are $15 for adults and $10 for students.)


    3 p.m. Sunday,
    October 10 and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 6, Dart Auditorium, Lansing Community
    College



    Lansing Symphony
    and Michigan State University College of Music



    7 p.m. Sunday,
    April 10, St. Mary Cathedral, Lansing: Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, featuring the
    MSU University Chorale



    Lansing Symphony: Behind the Scenes


    6
    p.m. Thursday, March 24, Wharton Center for Performing Arts



    Ticket Information


    Subscriptions
    go on sale Monday, April 19; call (517) 487-5001. First-time subscribers are
    eligible for a 25 percent discount on their subscription. Subscription renewals
    are available by phone or mail.


    Single tickets go on sale July 1 by phone
    or at
    www.LansingSymphony.org.