Feature: Las Vegas Philharmonic's 25 Th Season Celebrates with Rhapsody in Blue at 100 on Feb. 24

Music Director Donato Cabrera will conMusic Director Donato Cabrera will conduct his tenth and final season.duct his tenth and final season.

By: Feb. 15, 2024
Feature: Las Vegas Philharmonic's 25 Th Season Celebrates with Rhapsody in Blue at 100 on Feb. 24
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Feature: Las Vegas Philharmonic's 25 Th Season Celebrates with Rhapsody in Blue at 100 on Feb. 24 Las Vegas Philharmonic’s 25th season continues with Rhapsody in Blue at 100, with Music Director Donato Cabrera conducting his 10th and final season with the orchestra during the 2023-24 season. Before the concert is the Grand Gala celebrating Gershwin’s masterpiece, and both will be held at The Smith Center on Feb. 24.

Rhapsody in Blue was composed by George Gershwin in 1924 and features a solo piano and jazz band. It was a bold fusion of classical music with jazz elements. The concert premiered on Feb. 12, 1924, as An Experiment in Modern Music in New York City.

Rhapsody in Blue is among Gershwin's most renowned compositions and is considered to have defined the Jazz Age. This era marked a new chapter in America's musical history, and it helped establish Gershwin's reputation as a prominent composer. Rhapsody in Blue remains one of the most beloved concert pieces ever.

Along with Donato, Clayton Stephenson will play the piano (claytonstephenson.com), Dvorák Slavonic Dances (selections), William Dawson Negro Folk Symphony, and The Chairman Dances (composed by John Adams) will be part of the program.

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák composed a series of 16 orchestral pieces collectively as The Slavonic Dances in 1878 and 1888 and brought them to the United States in the 1890s. According to Donato, Dvořák said that composers should use music from the U.S. culture, and he would write pieces incorporating aspects of American culture. Gershwin is a prime example of following Dvořák’s advice.

The Negro Folk Symphony was composed in 1934 by African American William Dawson, using Black spirituals to tell the story of his community. It would premiere, performed by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“This piece is really for me, and I hope the audience will leave this concert. This piece should be as well known as Gershwin’s Rhapsody,” says Donato.

“When you have such an important piece like Rhapsody in Blue celebrating a big 100th anniversary, it gives you a great chance to program that piece and select works that may or may not be as well known. I wanted to shine a light on other pieces that deserve to be heard as often as Rhapsody, so that is what I did with this concert,” said Donato.

Donato’s final season as Music Director has created many emotions for him. “For me, it has been a great big circle that I never thought would exist since I grew up in Las Vegas and moved when I was nine years old. I also never thought I would return to Las Vegas to conduct an orchestra. When I was presented with the opportunity 11 years ago, it was an unexpected and gratifying homecoming. These 10 years have been incredibly positive. I get to see my whole family when I conduct the Las Vegas Philharmonic since my relatives would attend.”

The 25th Season of the Las Vegas Philharmonic will be celebrated during the Grand Gala before the concert. Guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and an elegant dinner. The sophistication combines the fusion of elegance and symphony to celebrate the arts. There will then be a 30-minute pre-concert lecture beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The concert series for the 2023/24 season includes:

Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Rhapsody in Blue

Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m.  


Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.


Sunday, April 7 at 7 p.m.

Lang Lang in Recital 

Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.          

The Firebird!

Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.  

Saint-Saëns Thundering “Organ” Symphony

Las Vegas Philharmonic has been a part of the Las Vegas Valley for 25 years since 1998. The orchestra aims to inspire the community's lifelong love for music by providing performances and educational experiences in the city. The Youth Concert Series is a crucial music education program that brings thousands of children to the concert hall. Additionally, the Philharmonic's season of concerts showcases local and national guest artists on the grand Reynolds Hall stage. The orchestra comprises 76 professional musicians who are also educators and perform in other productions in Las Vegas, adding depth and variety to the organization. Music education and engagement are the foundation of the Philharmonic's commitment to the community. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Philharmonic relies on donations from individuals and corporations to fund its community, education, and artistic programs. To learn more about supporting the Philharmonic, visit lvphil.org or call 702.258.5438.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic will perform Rhapsody in Blue at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 24. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available at Lvphil.org and The Smith Center Box Office. Click here for special ticket offers. Follow on Facebook at @ lasvegasphilharmonic, X (formerly Twitter) @ lvphil and Instagram @ lvphil.