The Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra will present three concerts for its 2013-2014 season, “Celebrating Musical Traditions”. All three concerts will be in the Pine Bluff Convention Center’s auditorium.
The orchestra’s 27th season will kick off with “The Early Romantic Tradition” at 4 p.m. Oct. 6. Living in a climate of significant social change and inspired by Beethoven’s dramatic stylistic advances, early Romantic composers built upon the Classical-period musical aesthetic, infusing it with a greater range of emotional expression.
From the lighthearted sentiments of Gioacchino Rossini’s comical Cinderella Overture and Felix Mendelssohn’s charming Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”) to the more intensely personal language of Hector Berlioz’ sensuous song cycle Summer Nights (performed by Pine Bluff native, soprano Eleanor Pearl), the energetic yet pathos-laden Overture of Robert Schumann and the mercurial elegance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (featuring PBSO Concertmaster Linda Hsu), the Early Romantics blended Classical clarity and Romantic sentiment into a compelling artistic idiom.
“Holiday Traditions: Music of the Season” will be the theme of the orchestra’s second performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. This family-oriented program, itself a Pine Bluff Symphony tradition, highlights music traditionally associated with the holiday season, including excerpts from The Nutcracker, beloved classical and popular vocal selections from Ave Maria to White Christmas, favorite Christmas carols, popular orchestral pieces such as Die Fledermaus Overture, Troika (Russian Sleigh) Song, Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’ and Sleigh Ride, our annual audience sing-a-long and more. Special guests will include the Arkansas Festival Ballet and a host of area performers.
The season will conclude with “National Musical Styles and Traditions” at 4 p.m. March 16, 2013. As the great wave of nationalism spread across Europe in the second half of the 1800s, several distinct ethnic styles emerged from the musical landscape. Experience the intense Italian-opera emotionalism of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Forza del Destino Overture; the subtle, transparent imagery of French Impressionist Claude Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”; the strongly folk-based tunefulness of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana’s tone poem, The Moldau; and the incomparably lush late-Romantic character of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring legendary pianist Gerald Robbins
Preferred seating season tickets are $75 for adults and $15 for students. General seating season tickets are $62 for adults and $10 for students. Student tickets are for students in K-12 grades. Everyone is required to have a ticket. Tickets will also be available at the door for each performance.
A family season ticket is also available for $165 and includes two adults and two or more students under 18 years of age. If this is the first season to purchase seasons tickets, buy one ticket at regular price and get the second one free. Additional information is available by calling the symphony office at 870-536-7666 or by visiting the website at pinebluffsymphony.com
Support for PBSO is provided in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Charles Jones Evans
Entering his 22nd season as music director, maestro Charles Jones Evans has established an impressive standard of excellence for the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra. He brings a wealth of musical experience to the area, having held conducting positions with numerous professional orchestras and music festivals, including the Eastern Philharmonic, the Memphis Symphony, the Mississippi Symphony and the Eastman Philharmonia. As guest conductor, he has been featured on the podium with organizations such as the Richmond, Va., North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas Symphonies and the Memphis Ballet, as well as ensembles in Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Spokane, Santa Barbara and other cities across the U.S. In Europe, he has made guest appearances with the Oradea and Giurgiu Philharmonic Orchestras of Romania, as well as orchestras in Bucharest. Maestro Evans’ orchestral performances have been broadcast frequently on National Public Radio.
Evans’ conducting training has included a fellowship under eminent American composer/conductor, Gunther Schuller, at the Festival at Sandpoint, as well as a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. He has also studied under Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Boris Goldovsky, and David Effron. In 2000 he was invited to participate in the Wiener Musikseminar at Vienna’s Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, where he was awarded second prize in performance. Evans holds a bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a master of music from Southern Methodist University, and a doctor of musical arts degree from the Eastman School of Music. In addition to his activities with the Pine Bluff Symphony, Evans also serves as music director of the Long Bay Symphony and LBS Youth Orchestra in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Soprano Eleanor Pearl performed the role of Diane in Offenbach’s opera Orphée aux enfers last spring at the Manhattan School of Music. She made her operatic debut as Angelica in Handel’s Orlando in summer 2012, in Siena, Italy and is currently working on the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Last summer, she attended an intensive actor/singer seminar under the tutelage of soprano Catherine Malfitano.
Pearl began performing with the Pine Bluff Symphony in Arkansas in 2009, singing repertoire by composers ranging from Victor Herbert, to Franck, and Puccini. She received much of her original musical training singing in choirs such as the UALR’s Community Chorus, where they performed the works of Mozart to John Rutter. In 2010 she received the Young Art’s Honorable Mention Award, which placed her in the top 5 percent of 18-year-old singers in the nation. She is currently studying with Mark Oswald at The Manhattan School of Music, where she has returned for her master’s degree.
Pianist Gerald Robbins has distinguished himself internationally as a soloist having performed throughout the word in virtually every major music center including New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bonn, Munich, Athens, Frankfurt, Belgrade, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Tokyo. He has appeared with many major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and its affiliates, London Mozart Players, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, and the New York Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Edouard van Remoortel, Harry Blech, Okko Kamu, Jorge Mester, Lawrence Foster, Ezra Rachlin, Kenneth Klein, Louis Frémaux, and Zubin Mehta.
In addition to his solo activities, Robbins has distinguished himself as a chamber musician. While living in London, England he was in close collaboration with Nathan Milstein, Mayumi Fujikawa, Richard Markson, Larry Adler, and Kyung-Wha Chung. Others artists include Aaron Rosand, Pinchas Zukerman, Bronislav Gimpel, Zara Nelsova, Joseph Schuster, Ruggiero Ricci, Eudice Shapiro, Haroutune Bedelian, and Glenn Dicterow. Since returning to the United States he has worked closely with New York Philharmonic concert master Glenn Dicterow, co-founding the Lyric Piano Quartet, with which he regularly records and tours. He has also appeared as a frequent guest artist with solo members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as part of its subscription concert series at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, as well as performing with them at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York City.
A native of California, Robbins now resides in New York, where he is artist-in-residence with the Lyric Piano Quartet at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, CUNY. He is also affiliated with the Hoff-Barthelson School of Music in Westchester, and is a member of the chamber music faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Violinist Linda Hsu maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist, concertmaster, chamber and orchestral musician. Her numerous performances worldwide include New York Debut Recital at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, recitals at the National Taiwan Recital Hall in Taipei, and performances in Costa Rica, Germany and Austria. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, the Taipei Century Symphony Orchestra, the Greece Symphony Orchestra of New York, the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra in Michigan, and the Conway Symphony Orchestra in Arkansas.
Hsu has a bachelor of science degree from Yale University, and master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She joined the faculty of the University of Central Arkansas in 1996. She is currently a full professor of violin and chamber music at the university and concertmaster of the Conway Symphony Orchestra and the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra.