Orchestra’s concertmaster takes on dazzling works

Greenville News Full Article from Greenville News Online

By Paul Hyde: March 31, 2016

For a violin soloist, Saint-Saens’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” offers all the glittering challenges of a major concerto.

Condensed into 10 minutes of fierce intensity.

“It’s a tremendous piece,” said Xiaoqing Yu, concertmaster of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. “This is one of the major showpieces for violin.”

Yu will take on the dazzling work for the Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s program, “Some Enchanting Evening,” with three performances, April 8-10, at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre.

Yu will also play two lighter works: Manuel Ponce’s suave “Estrellita” (“Little Star”) and John Williams’ “Tango” from the film “Scent of a Woman.”

“These are favorites of the violin repertoire,” said Edvard Tchivzhel, who’ll be on the podium for the three concerts. “We call the program ‘Some Enchanting Evening’ because it features beautiful melodies.”

In addition to the pieces featuring Yu, Tchivzhel will conduct Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 and three of Dvorak’s spirited “Slavonic Dances.”

Concert-goers can expect musical sparks to fly in the brisk and hugely challenging “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.”

Yu said he’s been working on the piece, off and on, since last summer.

“I wanted to prepare as much as possible,” Yu said. “I’ve listened to many recordings and studied the orchestral score.”

He added, with a laugh, “But for pieces like this, you can never have enough time to prepare. It’s so challenging, but it’s a beautiful piece.”

Yu has been spotlighted at least two times in recent years as soloist with the chamber orchestra. He’s performing the Saint-Saens’ piece publicly for the first time, although he played the work as a student.

A native of China, Yu attended the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music and came to the U.S. in 1986 as a recipient of a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music.

Yu is a familiar presence to Greenville concert-goers, having occupied the Greenville Symphony concertmaster’s chair (the first violinist’s chair) for 23 years.

Yu actually lives more than three hours away in Cleveland, Tennessee to be near Lee University where he is an associate professor of violin and chamber music. Yu commutes by car and spends several weeks every year in Greenville for the orchestra’s masterworks and chamber concerts as well as for the more intimate Spotlight programs.

During the summer, Yu conducts master classes in Asia and also recruits young musicians for Lee University’s School of Music. In addition, he often performs during the summer with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra in New York.

”Some Enchanting Evening” opens with Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.

“It’s a very light and sunny work,” Tchivzhel said. “Schubert was a great melodist, simple and sincere in his music.”

The Greenville News is the presenting sponsor of “Some Enchanting Evening,” the final concert on the Greenville Symphony’s chamber orchestra series for the 2015-16 season.

For the latest in local arts news and reviews, follow Paul Hyde on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.

YOU CAN GO

What: “Some Enchanting Evening,” a program by the Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra, featuring violin soloist Xiaoqing Yu (Presented by The Greenville News)

When: 8 p.m. April 8-9; 3 p.m. April 10

Where: Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre

Tickets: $43

Information: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org