The Aiken Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Donald Portnoy will present a series of nine concerts and world-renowned guest artists for the 2019-2020 season.
The season will feature four classical orchestral performances; three chamber performances; a performance of Handel’s “Messiah”; and two pops concerts, including a Christmas program and a concert featuring music from Broadway, according to a news release from the symphony.
For information and subscriber season tickets, call 803-642-9453. Single concert tickets will go on sale July 15. For single tickets, call 803-220-7251.
The season will open at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in the Etherredge Center at USC Aiken with “Tchaikovsky: The Russian Genius,” featuring pianist Andrew Tyson.
The program will include the “U.S. National Anthem”; Concerto for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 16, A Minor, by Edvard Grieg, featuring Tyson; and “Symphony, No. 5, Op. 64, E Minor,” by P. I. Tchaikovsky.
Grieg, a Norwegian, composed his concerto for piano and orchestra in the summer of 1868 while vacationing in Denmark. At the outset, it was received with high praise and has been described as charming and idyllic, with Norwegian folk influences, according to the release.
When first written, Tchaikovsky considered his fifth symphony a mediocre work, but he changed his opinion after it became acknowledged by many as his greatest work, according to the release.
The other concerts in the season are as follows:
• “Brahms: Magnitude and Power,” featuring violinist Jennifer Frautschi, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Etherredge Center
The program will feature “Symphony, No. 2, Op. 43, D Major,” by Jean Sibelius, and “Violin Concerto, Op. 77, D Major," featuring Frautschi, by Johannes Brahms.
Composed in 1902, Sibelius’ “Symphony No, 2” has proved to be the most popular of all the Sibelius symphonies, according to the release. It is dramatic, moving, tragic, stirring and overwhelming in its emotions and climactic surges.
First performed in 1879, Brahms' “Violin Concerto in D Major” has been described as magnificent in its strength and originality and abounds in Brahms’ profoundest thoughts, according to the release.
• “W.A. Mozart: Amadeus and Friends,” 3 p.m. Nov. 24, St. John's United Methodist Church, 104 Newberry St. N.W.
The program will feature a program of all Mozart music: “Exsultate Jubilate, K. 165,” featuring soprano Diana Amos; “Concerto for Flute & Harp, K. 299,” featuring Wendy Cohen on flute and Vonda Darr on harp; and “Symphony No. 29, K. 201, A Major.”
• G.F. Handel's “Messiah,” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church, 138 Fairfield St. S.E.
The program will feature the Aiken Symphony Orchestra Festival Chorus and soloists to be announced.
• “Home for the Holidays,” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Etherredge Center
The program of Christmas and Broadway holiday favorites and the orchestra's classical holiday selections will feature the Aiken Choral Society; the Aiken Civic Ballet; and vocalist Scarlett Strallen. Strallen is an English stage actress best known for her work in musical theater productions in the West End in London and on Broadway in New York, including the title role in “Mary Poppins.”
Selections will include “Oh, Holy Night,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “My Favorite Things” and other popular Christmas melodies.
• “Glorious Strings,” 3 p.m. Jan. 19, 2020, St. John's United Methodist Church
The program will feature “Adagio for Strings,” by Samuel Barber; “Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op 35a,” by Anton Arensky; “Romance, Op 42, C Major,” by Jean Sibelius; and “Serenade for Strings, Op 48, C Major,” by Tchaikovsky.
• “Beethoven: Happy Birthday, Ludwig,” 7:30 p.m Feb. 1, 2020, Etherredge Center
The program will feature two pieces by Beethoven: “Symphony No. 7, Op. 92, A Major” and “Concerto, Violin, Cello, and Piano, Op. 56, C Major (Triple Concerto),” with the Eroica Trio, made up of Erika Nickrenz on piano, Sara Parkins on violin and Sara Sant’Ambrogio on cello.
The Eroica Trio has played together since childhood and is the most sought-after trio in the world, according to the release. They have been nominated for the Grammy Award and have performed the Beethoven “Triple Concerto” more frequently than any other trio in the world.
• “Scheherazade: The Thousand and One Nights,” 7:30 p.m. March 7, 2020, Etherredge Center
The program will feature “Fledermaus: Overture,” by Johann Strauss Jr.; “Cello Concerto, Op. 129, A Minor,” by Robert Schumann, featuring Zlatomir Fung on cello; and “Scheherazade, Op. 35,” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
“Scheherazade” is Rimsky-Korsakov’s most famous work, according to the release. Built on material from “The Arabian Nights,” the work is Rimsky-Korsakov’s most descriptive music, full of the colors of the Orient and touched with its subtle flavors.
• “Swinging on a Star,” 3 p.m. April 19, 2020, Etherredge Center
The concert will feature popular Broadway musical tunes from shows including “Oklahoma,” “Gypsy” and “Chicago” with vocalist Debbie Gravitte.
Gravitte has been an actress and singer on Broadway since 1979 when she appeared in “They’re Playing our Song.” She has appeared in “Les Miserables,” as Fantine in 1994, and “Chicago,” as Matron Mama Morton in 2003, among others.
In 1989, she appeared in “Jerome Robbins' Broadway,” for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.