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