GNSO presents a concert of concertos

Posted 1/29/20

The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra (GNSO) will perform a special concert on Saturday, February 1 at 4 p.m. at Aquinas Hall on the Mount Saint Mary College campus in Newburgh.

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GNSO presents a concert of concertos

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The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra (GNSO) will perform a special concert on Saturday, February 1 at 4 p.m. at Aquinas Hall on the Mount Saint Mary College campus in Newburgh.

This “Concert of Concertos,” under the direction of Maestro Russell Ger, will feature the works of composing giants Mozart, Beethoven and Prokofiev performed by three soloists accompanied by the GNSO orchestra.

“A concerto is any piece for solo instrumentalist and orchestra and usually consists of three movements,” said Ger. “One of the hallmarks of a concerto is the dialogue between the group (orchestra) and the individual (soloist). Sometimes it is cooperative, sometimes competitive and sometimes an outright confrontation,” he noted.

This special concert represents the second year of a unique partnership between the GNSO and Moxart, Inc., a Philadelphia-area non-profit organization whose mission is to provide musicians with opportunities that would otherwise not be available. Moxart’s Concerto Program enables accomplished, non-professional musicians to play a concerto with a fine orchestra. After their great success in Philadelphia, Moxart continued to expand by reaching out to the GNSO in the Hudson Valley and the orchestra was delighted to begin building this new partnership.

“After the great success of our inaugural collaboration with Moxart last season,” Ger continued, “we are thrilled to present this program. The three works on display this year couldn’t be more different. Mozart’s dulcet Clarinet Concerto, dating from the last year of his life, is sweet, winsome and, in the middle movement, utterly sublime, By contrast, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 from 1923 is bold and energetic, forged in the heady afterglow of the Russian Revolution. Lastly, Beethoven’s youthful Piano Concerto No. 2 is gracious and genial, but still bears the characteristic drama that is a hallmark of his later work. All in all, the evening is sure to entrance our listeners.”

Soloists in Saturday’s concert include pianists June Wu and Alan Murray and clarinetist Allan Schaffer.

Wu has performed in New York, Philadelphia, Paris, Bayreuth, Moscow, Shanghai, and Cape Town. Recent highlights include a performance of Chopin’s first piano concerto with the Penn Symphony Orchestra, and Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Newark Symphony Orchestra in Delaware. She has given several performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as a performer-in-residence of the New York Piano Society. She has also been a featured soloist with the Orchestre-Atelier Ostinato and Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine in Paris and the Rochester, Birmingham-Bloomfield, Dearborn, and Warren Symphony Orchestras as well as the Detroit Symphony Civic Philharmonia in Michigan.

Alan Murray has appeared extensively in solo and chamber music recitals and as concerto soloist with symphony orchestra and over 20 concertos in recent years - including this spring’s engagements - by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Dvorak, Liszt, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin and Tchaikovsky. Alan is also founder and artistic director of the Westchester Chamber Soloists, a concerto-focused and self-conducted professional chamber orchestra in the lower Hudson Valley in New York established in January 2020, and with whom he has embarked in Spring 2020 on the complete cycles of Beethoven’s and Mozart’s piano concertos, to be continued in the Fall’20-Spring’21 season. All of the orchestra’s other concerto soloists also come from within the ensemble.

Alan Schaffer began playing clarinet at age 10. In high school he studied under Eugene Timpano, performing the Weber Concertino and the third movement of the Mozart Concerto with the high school orchestra. In his senior year, he served as concertmaster of the All Nassau County Band.

This special concert is not included in the annual subscription. All tickets are priced at $25. Call 913-7157 or visit newburghsymphony.org. Students are admitted free to open seating.

The snow date is Sunday, February 2, at 4 p.m.

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