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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.


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