On Saturday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helena Civic Center, the Helena Symphony continues its 58th Season and the next performance the Exergy Masterworks Concert Series with two works that will amaze, intrigue, surprise, and entertain.

Composed in 1995 for the 150th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Joseph Schwantner composed his Percussion Concerto that creates an ambiance of a rock concert to surreal reflective music.  While there are a handful of percussion concertos, most are composed for a single instrument, particularly the marimba.  Schwantner innovatively uses an array of percussion instruments, from the conventional, such as bass drum, marimba, bongos, to the bizarre and exotic, such as shekere (an African instrument), Japanese wind chimes, anvil, Alpine herd bells, and water gong.  Schwantner also has the percussion soloist performing in two areas – one behind the orchestra where the percussion section plays, and one in front of the orchestra where a soloist traditionally performs.  So the soloist moves back and forth between the two locations during the three movement work.

An international performer, Percussionist Lynn Vartan returns to perform with the Helena Symphony after her wonderfully received performance of Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto in 2009.  Recognized for her dynamic athleticism and exciting energy on stage, Ms. Vartan is a well-known recording artist, and was twice nominated for a Grammy award for “Best Classical Album of the Year.”
The concert continues with Béla Bartók’s legendary and popular Concerto for Orchestra.  Composed in 1943 during the height of World War II, the Concerto for Orchestra is considered “one of the most important works of the last hundred years,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott.  “It has become the model for most composers who wish to write works that display the virtuosity of the orchestra.”  The Concerto for Orchestra was conceived and composed as a personal expression of homesickness and hope for Bartók’s homeland of Hungary, and for “peace and brotherhood for the world,” explained the composer.

As suggested in the title, the Concerto for Orchestra where the soloist is the orchestra itself, whereby each section of the orchestra is highlighted with demanding, virtuosic passages.  “While the composer is not as well known to the average concertgoer, the Concerto for Orchestra washes over audiences with a magic and excitement that it is hard to not love it,” explains Maestro Scott.  “It is a work that gives an audience nearly everything we could want from music, and it leaves us on the edge of our seats.”

For tickets or more information, contact the Helena Symphony at 406.442.1860 or helenasymphony.org.  To subscribe to the 2012-2013 Season, subscriptions can be purchased on line at helenasymphony.org, or by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or at the Symphony Box Office located at 48 Hibbard Way, between
10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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