Orchestras offer favorites — and new twists — in upcoming season
The Big Three — the three area symphony orchestras — have plenty on tap for music lovers in the upcoming season.
The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra will start its 54th season with a new conductor and music director, Stephen Alltop, and offer up classics and a concert devoted to Russian masterpieces.
The Danville Symphony Orchestra will kick off its 47th season with longtime director/conductor Jeremy Swerling. Guest artists will be Poperazzi, a trio that has performed at venues from opera houses to Las Vegas; a harmonica virtuoso; and two pianists from Indiana University.
Among highlights for Sinfonia da Camera, founded and conducted by Ian Hobson, will be a couple of concerts heavy on two different kinds of vocal pieces: Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" and Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Mikado." The season finale will be an all-Ludwig van Beethoven concert, with Hobson on piano.
Another classical group, The Prairie Ensemble, led by Kevin Kelly, is expected to announce its season later.
Here's a rundown of the three:
The C-U Symphony season, opening Oct. 5, will feature four classics concerts, a traditional holiday concert, four youth concerts in April and free small ensemble events in local schools.
Concert themes and dates:
"A World of Color," Oct. 5, with "Rainbow Body" by Christopher Theofanidis; "Poeme for Violin and Orchestra," Ernest Chausson; "Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra," Maurice Ravel, with Elissa Koljonen on violin; "Red Cape Tango," Michael Daugherty; and "Daphnis et Chlo," Suites 1 and 2, Maurice Ravel.
"A Season of Joy" holiday concert, Dec. 12, will feature choral classics, masterpieces of the season, holiday favorites and, of course, a visit from St. Nick.
"Classic Gems," Feb. 1, Serenata by Walter Piston; Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with James Giles at the piano; and Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Beethoven.
"Inextinguishable," March 8, Prelude and Transfiguration from "Tristan und Isolde" by Richard Wagner; "The Lark Ascending," Ralph Vaughan Williams, with violinist Igor Kalnin; "Signs of Life," Russell Peck; and Symphony No. 4 ("The Inextinguishable") by Carl Nielsen.
"A Russian Festival," April 25, "Russian Easter Overture" by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov; "Chant du Menestrel," Alexander Glazunov; "Variations on a Rococo Theme," Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with cellist Wendy Warner; and Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Tchaikovsky.
CUSO concerts are usually at 7:30 p.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, season tickets or a season brochure, call 351-9139 or visit cusymphony.org.
This orchestra usually performs at 7:30 p.m. in the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at Danville High School but has an afternoon concert set as well. Its season:
"Mancini and Moonlight," Oct. 12, with "romancing and dancing" performed by Nat Chandler, Teri Dale Hansen and the orchestra. The program will feature lush arrangements of "Moon River," "The Days of Wine and Roses," "Charade," and orchestral features such as "The Baby Elephant Walk," "Peter Gunn," "The Pink Panther" and "Victor Victoria."
"An Italian Christmas," 3 p.m. Dec. 15, featuring the guest trio Poperazzi, which blurs the lines between popular and classical music. The program includes "William the Angel," "Adeste Fidelis," "Funiculi Finicula," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," "Libiamo," "Silent Night" and more.
"Americana," March 29, featuring harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio and orchestral music from American film and Broadway. The program will include George Gershwin's Symphonic Suite from "Porgy and Bess"; Kurt Weill's Symphonic Nocturne from "Lady in the Dark"; famed Beatles producer George Martin's "Three American Sketches for Harmonica and Strings"; plus music by Stephen Foster.
"Two Times the Fun," April 26, with Indiana University pianists Charles Webb and Steven Mann joining narrator Joseph Mervis in a performance of Mozart's "Piano Concerto in Eb" for two pianos, as well as Camille Saint Sans' "Carnival of the Animals" and Bedrich Smetena's portrait of the River Moldau.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 443-5300 or visit the Danville Symphony office at 149 N. Vermilion St. between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. this summer. http://www.danvillesymphony.org.
The milestone 30th season opens with a season gala at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Krannert Center lobby.
It will begin with a cocktail reception, with live piano music. After a formal dinner, there will be more musical entertainment and dancing, as Sinfonia members perform classical and Broadway favorites. The evening will end with dessert and a live auction.
"Opening Night Romance," Nov. 2, with pianist and conductor Hobson. The program: Brahms' Serenade No. 2 in A Major, Op. 16; Poulenc's "Aubade"; Strauss' "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," Op. 60.
Verdi's "Requiem," Nov. 21, with tenor Barrington Coleman, bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera, the University of Illinois Chorale and Oratorio Society, and the UI Women's and Men's Glee Clubs.
"From Russia with Love," Feb. 14, with violinist Andrs Crdenes. The program: Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op.25, "Classical"; Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" (1919 version); and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35.
"The Mikado," March 14, with vocalists, among them Dawn Harris, Ricardo Herrera and Yvonne Redman.
"Three's a Charm," May 3, with Hobson again at the piano. The program: Beethoven's "Leonore" Overture No. 3, Op. 72a; Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica."
The Sinfonia da Camera also will perform the music for the Champaign-Urbana Ballet's "The Nutcracker," Dec. 5-8, also at Krannert.
Tickets for the C-U Symphony and Sinfonia also may be purchased at the Krannert ticket office. Call 333-6280 or visit http://www.krannertcenter.com.