LSO hosts ’home-grown talent’
|By James Sanford|
Familiar local faces return during 2010-11 seasonLansing 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.
“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 its 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 for the Oct. 1 MasterWorks concert, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
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. 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
2010/2011 MasterWorks Series
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10: MasterWorks 1: Beethoven’s
8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1: MasterWorks 2: Tchaikovsky & Sibelius,
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4: MasterWorks 3: Songs
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8:
8 p.m. Saturday, April 16: MasterWorks 6: Exploring Gershwin & Ravel, with pianist Anton Nel
2010/2011 Pops Series
3 p.m. Sunday, December
2010/2011 Chamber Series
3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, Plymouth Congregational Church:
3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, Plymouth
2010/2011 Big Band Concerts
3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 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
Single tickets go on sale July 1 by phone or at www.LansingSymphony.org.