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Lee’s Symphony Orchestra to Present Concert

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


20121016 Symphony Orchestra

The music of George Gershwin will highlight a fall concert by the Lee University Symphony Orchestra on Monday, Oct. 22, in the Conn Center on the Lee campus.  The orchestra will perform under the baton of Maestro Robert Bernhardt in an event set for 7:30 p.m.

Pianist Ning An will appear as the soloist in the popular Gershwin work, "Rhapsody in Blue."  The program will also include pieces by Mussorgsky, Marquez, and another familiar Gershwin work, "Lullaby for Strings."

Featured artist for the night will be pianist, and assistant professor at Lee, Ning An, performing "Rhapsody in Blue." 

The concert will open with Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain." Mussorgsky wrote the score for this piece in his twenties, but was never able to secure a performance. It was not until five years after his death that the great composer Nikolia Rimsky-Korsakov, who was Mussorgsky's personal friend, debuted the piece.

Next in the line-up is Arturo Marquez's "Danzon No. 2." Receiving its name from a form of Cuban dance, "Danzon No. 2" is the second in a series of dance pieces coming from Latin roots. Written in 1994, this work has recently established a place in the symphonic repertoire of orchestras around the world.

The evening will conclude with the George Gershwin works "Lullaby for Strings" and "Rhapsody in Blue." Gershwin wrote both in a five year span, and today they are considered two of his best works.

"Lullaby for Strings" was written for a night of entertainment at a friend's home, and after its one time use in 1922, it was not played again for over 40 years.  Graduate assistant Sarah Pearson will conduct this work on Monday night's program.

"Rhapsody in Blue" was composed for a jazz concert in 1924 that was aiming to legitimize jazz music. Gershwin wrote the piece in three weeks, after which the original version was debuted at the jazz performance. Later composer Ferde Grofe wrote a full symphonic version, which will be played for the Lee performance.

Bernhardt joined Lee's School of Music in the fall of 2011 as an artist-in-residence and conductor of the Lee Symphony Orchestra. Bernhardt also serves as Music Director Emeritus of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO) and Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra.

He was formerly the Music Director and Conductor for 19 seasons with the CSO and is the first to hold the title Emeritus. He is also a frequent conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

An has been praised by the New York Concert Review as a musician who "combines a flawless technique and mastery of the instrument with an expressive power that is fueled by profound and insightful understanding."

Since making his orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Cleveland Orchestra, An has been a featured soloist with many orchestras including the London Symphony, Moscow Radio Symphony, and the Stuttgart Philharmonic.

A passionate chamber musician as well as soloist, An has performed with groups such as the Ysaye, Daedalus and Takacs Quartets as well as instrumentalists James Buswell and Paul Neubauer. An has given masterclasses throughout the United States and Asia. 

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lee's School of Music at 423-614-8240 or email music@leeuniversity.edu.