Pianist Wu Han to Make ASO Debut in January

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will welcome two debuts in January. First, acclaimed pianist Wu Han - named Musical America's 2012 Musician of the Year - will make her ASO debut playing Britten's Piano Concerto. Additionally, two enormous bronze church bells, one of only a few sets in the U.S., will make their debut during Berlioz's iconic Symphonie fantastique. Led by Music Director Robert Spano, audiences can experience these concerts on January 23, 2014, at 8:00 p.m., January 25, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., and January 26, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. in Atlanta Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center.

The two massive bells, weighing in at 2,000 pounds, were custom ordered from the Cincinnati-based Verdin Bell Company (a sixth-generation family-owned firm), and were cast in the Netherlands by Petit & Fritsen, which has been in business for 365 years. They are a memorial to EuGene Allen Rehm, Jr., who was a percussionist with the Orchestra for 49 seasons before retiring in 2003. Upon Mr. Rehm's passing in January 2010, he named ASO Principal Percussionist Tom Sherwood as his executor. Mr. Sherwood says Mr. Rehm's two passions were the Orchestra and his cats - so he made a donation to Furkids, a leading non-kill shelter and rescue facility. The rest of the estate went to Rehm's other passion.

"Knowing he was a percussionist, I thought it was fitting to center that gift around buying percussion equipment which would make our section substantive," Mr. Sherwood has said. In addition to the prized bells, Mr. Rehm's estate also welcomed a five-octave marimba and a three-octave set of tuned gongs to the ASO.

More concert details are available at aso.org/wuhan.




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