The Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Abilene Convention Center this fall for its 73rd season entertaining Big Country audiences.
The season opens Sept. 23 with the first performance in the Stifel Financial Masterworks Series, “From Darkness to Light.” The concert features Richard Wagner’s overture to the 1868 opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (“The Master-Singers of Nuremberg”) – the story of a young man who works his way into a contest of master singers in order to win the opportunity to marry the woman he loves – as well as Grammy-winner Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” from his 1945 opera Peter Grimes. Following intermission, the orchestra will present Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto, featuring special guests violinist Chloé Kiffer and cellist Horacio Contreras.
The French-born Kiffer serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, the University of North Texas, and the FaceArts Institute of Music in Shanghai. The Greenwich Sentinel describes her as “a star in every sense: performance, exquisite technique and beauty.” Contreras, originally from Venezuela, instructs at UNT, the Music Institute of Chicago, and the University of Michigan, and has taught master classes at Indiana University, Juilliard, and Oberlin.
“It has been a true joy working with musicians of their caliber at UNT, and I am thrilled to be able to introduce them to an Abilene audience,” said APO Music Director David Itkin.
Season 73 continues with Masterworks II, “Firebird!” on Oct. 28. Daniel del Pino, Texas Tech’s Eva Browning Artist-in-Residence, will kick off the performance as the featured soloist for Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The piece is considered one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in music history.
“A decade ago, I’d have bet you there were only a dozen pianists in the world who could play Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto properly,” wrote Prokofiev biographer David Nice in BBC Music Magazine.
The concerto will be followed by Idyll (Op. 44) by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a British composer of African descent often labeled “the African Mahler.” Seldom performed in the United States, the piece was described in a review by the Yorkshire Post as “crammed full of melody—melody that is spontaneous and refined … possessing undoubted charm.”
Masterworks II concludes with the title composition, Igor Stravinsky’s 1919 suite from his 1910 ballet The Firebird. The piece retells a Russian fairytale about a prince who receives an enchanted feather from the magical Firebird in exchange for saving its life. Writing for The Listener’s Club, violinist Timothy Judd describes this version of The Firebird as “a thrillingly dramatic concert piece, independent of the ballet.”
Season subscriptions for the APO’s 73rd concert season can be purchased online at www.abiphil.com, over the phone at 325-677-6710, or in person at 1102 North 3rd St., Suite C. Tickets for individual concerts go on sale Aug. 22. Military, student, and group discounts are available.
Contributed By The Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra