September 21, 2017
The Greenville Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 70th season this weekend with a Masterworks concert spotlighting three works by Beethoven.
Beethoven the Great will feature three pieces: “Egmont” Overture; Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor Piano Concerto, with guest pianist Dmitri Levkovich; and Symphony No. 5.
The 2017-2018 season also includes a Pops Series and Chamber Orchestra Series, as well as the Spotlight Series, which offers smaller ensembles of musicians performing in a more casual setting, the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
Edvard Tchivzhel, the GSO’s conductor and musical director, and Julie Fish, the symphony’s new executive director, shared their insights about the new season for the latest installment of On Stage With Donna Walker.
The interview has been edited for space and clarity.
Q. This marks the 70th season for Greenville Symphony Orchestra. What do you have in store for this season?
Tchivzhel: As our special gift to the audience on our 70th anniversary, we open a new pops series, which consists of three concerts. The first will be on Oct. 24, which will be (close to) Halloween, so it will be a lot of spooky costumes and spooky music, based on pops music from scary movies. In addition, in front of the orchestra, on this stage, will be Cirque de la Symphonie.
Tchivzhel on the Oct. 6-8 Oktoberfest chamber concert: Our traditional Oktoberfest, which comes with free beer tasting and a lot of great German music. … So we are celebrating music and beer together, in the German way.
Tchivzhel on A Musical Valentine pops concert on Feb. 14: Our guest will be back again, Edwin McCain, with his ensemble, playing songs about love.
Q. What is the significance of the three Beethoven pieces you’ll be playing this weekend?
Tchivzhel: They all belong to the so-called Middle Period, the middle phase of Beethoven’s three periods. This Middle Period is characterized by a special heroic style. It actually reveals the very essence of Beethoven’s personality. … (The concert ends with) one of the most famous symphonies ever written in all of classical music history. It is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Victory Symphony.
Q. You have a guest pianist, Dmitri Levkovich. What does he bring to the Emperor Concerto?
Tchivzhel: He brings everything we need. First of all, he is a great virtuoso. He has no limitations technically, which is very important. … He brings virtuosity, he brings maturity, because despite his very young age, he is a very serious, mature musician, which is very important because this piece is very difficult.
Q. Julie, this is your first season with GSO. What are you most looking forward to?
Fish: I’m looking forward to everything about the GSO this season. I started on July 17, and my first priority was to meet the people in Greenville and the people associated with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. So this is really the highlight for me, to start the season this week with this “Beethoven the Great” concert. I would say I’m looking forward most to the diversity of offerings that we have. … I think what the Greenville Symphony has done very well is this diversification of offerings, that each person has a different experience, that there’s something really truly for everyone. … I’m so anxious to hear the musicians create their music and work the magic that we’re all so passionate about.
YOU CAN GO
What: Greenville Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Concert: “Beethoven the Great”
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 23 and 3 p.m. Sept. 24
Where: Peace Center
How much: $18-$75
For more: www.peacecenter.org