The new year has ushered in new musical performances by Symphony Orchestra Augusta during the second half of its 2011-2012 concert season.
On Jan. 21, Symphony Orchestra Augusta and Shizuo Z. Kuwahara, music director and conductor, will open the Symphony Series at First Baptist of Augusta with Harmony and Invention, featuring guest conductor Joseph Silverstein.
Silverstein is a legendary violinist who was concertmaster of the Boston Symphony for many years and later became music director of the Utah Symphony. He will perform Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, said executive director Sandra Self.
Kuwahara said he worked as an associate conductor with Silverstein in 2005 with the Virginia Symphony. He felt that Silverstein’s earlier orchestral works were impressive and wanted to invite him so that “he could take the SOA orchestra to the next level,” Kuwahara said.
“His expertise as a violinist and a conductor are the perfect requirements for leading the orchestra in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, one of the most popular and well-known works in the Baroque literature … and, as well, one of Mozart’s last symphonies written,” Self said. “It will certainly be an unusual concert, as Mr. Silverstein will lead the orchestra from the first violin (concertmaster) position for the Four Seasons.”
On Feb. 18, the series will be themed The Great, with Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1, Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes (Game of Cards) and Franz Peter Schubert’s Symphony, D. 944, C Major (The Great C Major).
On March 17, Symphony Orchestra Augusta will present Deceptive Reality, featuring violinist Micah Gangwer. He will play Violin Concerto (The Love) by Tan Dun, the Oscar and Grammy-winning composer whose works can be heard in the feature films Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. Gangwer will also play Sir William Turner Walton’s Symphony No. 1.
The Symphony Series will conclude with Dramatic Voices, highlighting soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Dinyar Vania, Arthur Ross on viola, Augusta Choral Society with Dr. J. Porter Stokes II as director and Augusta Opera Chorus with director Richard E. Cook. They will perform vocal works by Vaughan Williams, Giuseppe Verdi, Alexander Borodin and Giacomo Puccini.
ALSO THIS SEASON, the symphony will celebrate the 25th season of Pops! At the Bell series on Feb. 9 with The Temptations, the first Motown act to win a Grammy Award. Some of The Temptations’ most popular tunes include My Girl, Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone and Ain’t too Proud to Beg.
“We have wanted to feature The Temptations for some time now, and fortunately for this season, we were able to find a date that was open for them,” Self said.
On March 8, Pops! At the Bell will feature The Music of Michael Jackson. The show will take listeners through each era of Jackson’s music from ABC, I’ll Be There, Beat It, Thriller and The Way You Make Me Feel.
The performance will include vocals by James Delisco and feature guest conductor Brent Havens.
THE SYMPHONY’S Columbia County Music Series at the Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center will continue on Feb. 4 with Wendy Cohen on flute and Vonda Darr on harp. On March 3, the series will feature The Georgia Guitar Quartet.