GSO 2015-16 SEASON OFFERS EXCITING MIX OF TRADITIONAL AND NEW MUSIC

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By Paul Hyde: June 16, 2015

The Greenville Symphony’s 2015-16 season will encompass music inspired by Superman and the beginning of a long-term commitment to the works of Mahler.

The orchestra’s Masterworks and chamber series will range widely, from newer pieces being performed for the first time in Greenville to core classical gems by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Mendelssohn.

Among the newer pieces will be two parts of Michael Daugherty’s spirited comic-book-inspired “Metropolis Symphony” (1988-93) in November.

“I think Daugherty is one of the most talented of modern American composers,” said Edvard Tchivzhel, the orchestra’s music director.

Tchivzhel will pay tribute to the late Greenville philanthropist C. Thomas Wyche by orchestrating and conducting a song by Wyche titled “Moonbeams” in January.

“Tommy Wyche was someone who I knew from the beginning of my life in America,” said Tchivzhel, a Soviet defector. “He helped to bring me here.”

Tchivzhel is also inaugurating what he hopes will be a Mahler cycle, with the orchestra featuring at least one big symphonic work by the late-Romantic Austrian composer every year.

“I think it’s time to present all of Mahler’s orchestral works,” Tchivzhel said.

The Mahler series begins this season on May 7-8 with the composer’s towering Symphony No. 3, which includes a children’s chorus and women’s choir.

“We should have more than 200 people on stage,” Tchivzhel said.

Tchivzhel plans to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 for the 2016-17 season. For the orchestra’s 70th season in 2017-18, Tchivzhel hopes to present Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, also known as the “Symphony of a Thousand” for the large forces required to perform the piece.

“I think the music of Mahler is very special, very profound, embracing all aspects of humanity and our spiritual life,” Tchivzhel said.

Masterworks programs

The orchestra’s Masterworks series opens Sept. 26-27 with a return of the young American-born pianist Andrew von Oeyen, who will play Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto in G Major.

That program also will feature Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, the most popular of the Russian composer’s symphonies.

The excerpts from Daughter’s “Metropolis Symphony” follow in November for the orchestra’s second Masterworks program. The concerts also feature Christopher Theofanidis’ “Rainbow Body” and, for classical balance, music from Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet.

The third program of the season, Jan. 23-24, includes Wyche’s “Moonbeams,” Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” suite and Sibelius Symphony No. 2.

Violinist Benjamin Beilman comes to the Peace Center on Feb. 13-14 to perform Mendelssohn’s ever-popular Violin Concerto.

“He’s a young American virtuoso,” Tchivzhel said.

Two major orchestra works will be offered on the fifth program of the season: Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

The Masterworks season closes with Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

Chamber music

As in years past, the orchestra’s chamber music concerts will feature Greenville talent and soloists from among the ranks of the orchestra.

Pianist David Gross, a Furman University music professor, will perform Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto in the chamber orchestra’s Oktoberfest concerts, October 16-18. Also featured: Brahms “Academic Festival” Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.

The chamber orchestra’s all-Mozart program, Nov. 20-22, will include the composer’s Symphonies Nos. 38 and 40.

The orchestra’s principal flutist Caroline Ulrich will take on Ibert’s Flute Concerto on Feb. 26-28 in a program that also includes works by Rossini and Poulenc.

Concertmaster Xiaoqing Yu will offer the music of John Williams and Saint-Saens on the April 8-10 chamber program. Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances” also will be included.

The orchestra will again offer three Spotlight concerts (Oct. 3, Nov. 14 and Jan. 9), featuring the orchestra’s top-tier musicians in small ensembles.

Holiday at Peace

Broadway singers Gary Mauer and Beth Southard come to Greenville for the orchestra’s popular Holiday at Peace Christmas concerts, Dec. 18-20.

For more information about the Greenville Symphony’s season or to purchase tickets, call the Peace Center box office at 864-467-3000 or see the websitewww.peacecenter.org.