Symphony Orchestra Augusta has variety of music in store



Mieko Di Sano is very excited about the 59th season lineup for Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

“It has lots of variety – something for everyone,” the executive director said of the season that begins Friday, Sept. 27.

“We have a good classical lineup, with some music people might not have heard before. Every program is useful. We try to spread out the shows where everyone has an opportunity to go.”

Di Sano mentioned that currently each series is held in a different place, but upon completion of the Miller Theater renovation all concerts will be held there. The project is progressing well, she said, and has a projected opening in the fall of 2015.

Music Director Shizuo Z. Kuwahara said he is also excited about the 2013-2014 season, which marks his fifth year with Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

“I continue to be proud of the incredible talent and musicianship of the orchestra members, and what our organization does for Augusta,’’ he said. “During this new season, I am happy to share inspiring musical works with you and look forward to seeing you.”

The season opener, Rapture and Rachmaninoff, is part of the Symphony Series. All concerts in this series will be held at First Baptist of Augusta and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The first performance opens with Kabalevsky’s Overture pathetique, followed by Respighi’s Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows), featuring organ, and concludes with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1. Lost for decades after Rachmaninoff’s exile, the score was reconstructed from parts discovered during World War II and has been a performance staple since.

Other performances in the Symphony Series include:

Brilliant Baroque – Friday, Nov. 8, with guest artist Vonda Darr on harp presenting works by Handel, Ravel and Haydn

Strauss’s Odyssey – Saturday, Jan. 18, including Salome’s Dance; Scriabin – The Poem of Ecstacy; and Symphony No. 4, op. 54

Magnificent Mozart – Saturday, Feb. 22, with guest artist Lucinda Carver on piano presenting works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, including The Impresario Overture and Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Midsummer in March – Saturday, March 22, with guest artist Arthur Ross on viola, Cecelia Chorus and Joel Scraper directing.

The concert will feature Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and Symphony No. 4; Vaughan Williams’ Flos campi (Flower of the Field); and Agnus Dei by composer John Hennecken, who is a Lakeside High School alum.

Russian Landscapes – Friday, May 2, with guest artist Ryo Yanagatani on piano. Yanagatani was the grand prize winner of the Hugo Kauder International Piano Competition and will present works by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.


PERFORMANCES IN the Pops at the Bell Series, which is presented by University Health Care System, will be held at Bell Auditorium and will begin at 7:30 p.m.:

• Little River Band – Thursday, Oct. 17. Take It Easy on Me, Help is On Its Way, Cool Change and Lonesome Loser are just a few of the hits of this popular group from down under.

• Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Thursday, Nov. 14. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this band that reminded the world that it’s cool to swing, big-band style. Their recent release is Rattle Them Bones.

• Melissa Manchester – Thursday, Feb. 13. From her roots in New York, Manchester has honed her talents with Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. She skyrocketed a career in popular music, theater and film and will give a Valentine’s performance at the Bell.

• Cirque De La Symphonie – Thursday, March 6. Magic and acrobatics paired with orchestra classics make for an evening of enchantment, death-defying stunts and music, presenting a night of family entertainment.


PERFORMANCES IN the Bank of America presents Columbia County Music Series will be presented at Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center and will begin at 7:30 p.m.:

• Manhattan Piano Trio – Saturday, Jan. 11. Strongly committed to educating new generations of musicians and music lovers, this trio enjoys communicating with their audiences through both music and commentary.

• Escher String Quartet – Tuesday, Feb. 18. This refined string quartet has received acclaim for its individual sound, inspired artistic decisions and symbiotic blend.

• Trio Virado – Saturday, March 15. This fresh, new trio is described as a collaboration of the most distinguished Latin artists on flute, viola and guitar.


SYMPHONY Orchestra Augusta also will perform three concerts for the SOA in Aiken Series.:

Brilliant Baroque – Saturday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Aiken Etherredge Center.

• Manhattan Piano Trio Chamber Concert – Friday, Jan. 10, 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

Russian Landscapes – Saturday, May 3, at 8 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Aiken Etherredge Center.


A NUMBER of special events are also planned this season, including:

• The Symphony of Wine – Thursday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.

• The Salon Concert – Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.

• Symphony of Kitchens – March 14-15

• The 10th annual Celebration of Pops Under the Stars – Saturday, May 10, at Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30. Admission is free with food and fireworks. Tables of six can be purchased for $250; tables of eight for $300.


TICKETS ARE available for individual performances and each series from or by calling (706) 826-4705.

Single tickets for the Symphony Series are $10 to $47; for the Pops! at the Bell Series $15 to $45; for the Columbia County Music Series $20; for SOA in Aiken $20-$45.


Symphony Orchestra Augusta performs in Augusta, Evans and Aiken with individual performance and series tickets available from or by calling (706) 826-4705.

The Symphony Series begins Friday, Sept. 27, with Rapture and Rachmaninoff at First Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $47.