Pacific Symphony Presents Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, Now thru 12/14

Gorgeous and grand, one of the repertoire's most-loved and instantly recognizable concertos, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, becomes the centerpiece of an orchestral showcase led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, continuing Pacific Symphony's 35th anniversary season.

Demanding virtuosity and superb technique to deliver its pounding parallel chords and rapid finger work, Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is in the skillful hands of Korean pianist Joyce Yang, who has been hailed by the Washington Post for her "poetic and sensitive pianism... capable of hurtling thunderbolts." Yang returns to the Symphony after a performance two seasons' ago of another Russian masterwork, Rachmaninoff's Third, when she was praised by the Orange County Register for her "genuine enthusiasm" and "singing elegance." The evening opens with Glinka's joyous Overture to "Russlan and Ludmilla," showing off the orchestra with loud, fast and virtuosic playing. The finale then bursts with color as each of the instruments are treated like soloists in Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra."

Capturing passionate musical statements throughout, the concert takes place tonight through Saturday, Dec. 12-14, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$185; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

"During the 35th anniversary season of Pacific Symphony, I wanted to feature the orchestra, and what better way than to program a concerto for the entire ensemble?" says Maestro St.Clair. "Bartók's concerto is one of the great masterworks composed in the 20th century, and remains a tour de force for every orchestra! Combining this with one of, if not the most, beloved concertos-the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1-seemed just the right combination for a December, pre-holiday classical evening."

In 1875, critics and soloists deemed Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto technically unplayable, but now it is performed by orchestras and pianists across the globe. With its explosive opening chords and lyrical melodies, Tchaikovsky composed a concerto that the great American pianist Van Cliburn interpreted to win the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. Contemporary pianists continue to play his first piano concerto with bold, dramatic keystrokes that produce rippling passages of beautiful music.

"Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto always takes me on a journey," says pianist Yang. "The piece takes off with a big melody and ends with an even larger one, and there are hundreds of hills and valleys in between. Each movement has drama, grandeur, beauty...all juxtaposed into one great soundscape. The orchestra and the soloist often take turns introducing different melodies-revealing different textures and colors to the same melody."




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