The University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra brings back old friends and introduces new ones in what promises to be one of its most dynamic and diverse seasons ever.
The season starts with the orchestra and Columbia welcoming home Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim, who grew up in Columbia. Other featured artists are Marina Lomazov, the area’s most beloved pianist, a 15-year-old violin virtuoso and a Brazilian guitar duo. The orchestra will celebrate the music of Richard Wagner on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth and showcase the musical theater gems of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Among the composers in the spotlight are Brahms, Bruch, Nielsen, Grieg, Copland and Tchaikovsky.
“This is an exciting season,” said Dr. Donald Portnoy, Music Director of the orchestra. “We’re pleased to be able to offer such a great variety of great music with soloists of a caliber one rarely sees with a university orchestra.”
The season opens Sept. 20 with David Kim performing the Violin Concerto by Max Bruch. Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster since 1999, Mr. Kim began studying with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the age of eight. When his family moved to Columbia two years later he began commuting to New York alone to continue his studies. Mr. Kim has recently performed the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 3, all the violin solos from the complete Brandenburg Concertos with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Vivaldi Four Seasons as conductor and soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in Philadelphia and Beijing.
Clarinet player Alexander Fiterstein, winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant Award, will make his first appearance with the orchestra Oct. 16 performing Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto as well as several klezmer-inspired pieces written specifically for him. He has been soloist with orchestras in Venezuela, China, Denmark, Israel, Korea and Japan and at venues including the National Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall and the Louvre in Paris. As a chamber musician he has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Emanuel Ax and Pinchas Zukerman. Mr. Fiterstein was a member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society II of Lincoln Center from 2004 to 2006 and continues to perform with the Society. He also has a Columbia and USC connection: he is married to violinist Meira Silverstein, who grew up in Columbia and studied with Dr. Portnoy.
The vibrant and popular pianist Marina Lomazov will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16 for the Nov. 13 concert. Dr. Lomazov, an associate professor at USC and Artistic Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival, has performed in nearly all of the 50 states, South America, China, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia and Japan.
A giant of the classical music world – Richard Wagner – will be honored at the Jan. 27 concert. The orchestra will perform Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin, “Siegfried Idyll,” Prelude and “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde and “Ride of the Valkyries” from The Ring of the Nibelung.
The orchestra celebrates Valentine’s Day with songs from the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musicals Carousel, The King and I, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, South Pacific and State Fair Feb. 12.
A rising star in the classical music world joins the orchestra March 26 for the Violin Concerto in D Major by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Zeyu Victor Li, 15, has gained widespread attention for his magnificent feel for the music as well as his technique. The Chinese musician was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Young Violinists International Competition.
The season wraps up April 25 with the springtime sounds of Brasil Guitar Duo. João Luiz and Douglas Lora met in their native São Paulo, Brazil as teenage guitar students and have been performing together for 15 years. With the Philharmonic they will perform Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra written for them by Brazilian composer Paulo Bellinati.
All concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts, 1015 Greene St. (Assembly and Greene streets) in Columbia. Season tickets are $115 for the general public, $85 for USC faculty and staff and seniors, and $42 for students. Call (803) 251-2222, go to capitoltickets.com, or download a subscription form at http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/orchestra/schedule.html