Traverse Symphony Orchestra presents Rachmaninoff season finale

INTERLOCHEN — Award-winning and Grammy-nominated pianist John Novacek, known for his “commanding presence (and) sterling technique” (Los Angeles Times), debuts with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Corson Auditorium in Interlochen.

The season finale concert celebrates the works of Russian pianist and composer of the late Romantic period, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Mr. Novacek will perform the boldly romantic Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1, a lively work containing both fiery keyboard passages and sumptuous orchestral accompaniment. Novacek is the winner of the Leschetizky and Joanna Hodges international piano competitions.

As a chamber musician and accompanist he has worked with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, and Leila Josefowicz. The program will close with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1, a confident and dramatic work, depicting anguish against unrelenting fate and a dynamic representation of the Russian symphonic tradition.

“I don’t like to talk in terms of favorites in any situation, but if I had to chose, Rachmaninoff would definitely be vying for top position,” said Maestro Kevin Rhodes. “I’ve loved his music ever since I was a small child in piano lessons, and performances of his orchestral music have been among my most favorite performances I’ve ever done.”

This combination of his First Symphony and his First Piano Concerto needs a little bit of a qualification, said Rhodes.

“The piano concerto will actually be played in a version which he revised much later in his life, and so have many of the hallmarks of his mature style, but with the impassioned boldness of his youth,” said Rhodes. “His first symphony is perhaps his most ‘Russian’ work, with echoes of Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Mussorgsky but with his unmistakable impetuousness.

“This is the first time ever for the TSO to tackle these two very demanding works and it will be a blast. This is John Novacek’s first appearance in Traverse City and I know our audiences will enjoy and appreciate his no holds barred way of commanding the piano… very fitting for this music.”

The community is invited to lunch with the Maestro with John Novacek and Kevin Rhodes before the concert on May 31 at the Traverse City Golf and Country Club. The Lunch with the Maestro series, sponsored by Rehmann, takes place on Thursdays prior to performances and offers an educational and insightful look into the music.

Concert tickets are at a cost. To purchase concert or Lunch with the Maestro tickets, call (231) 947-7120 or visit www.traversesymphony.org. Season sponsor is Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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