Springfield Symphony offers trio of diverse performances

Date: 1/8/2015

SPRINGFIELD – For the winter-weary, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will provide a much needed thaw with the performance of three lively and diverse classical works on Jan. 24, 2015.

On that evening, Maestro Rhodes and the SSO will perform selections by Kenneth Fuchs, Felix Mendelssohn, and Beethoven – and will be joined by renowned German violinist Axel Strauss. The evening’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m. with doors open at 6:00 p.m. and “Classical Conversations,” a pre-concert discussion, free to all ticket holders at 6:30 p.m.

All SSO performances are held at Springfield Symphony Hall, 34 Court Street.

An Evening to Remember

The evening will begin with a truly American and contemporary composition by composer, conductor and University of Connecticut music professor, Kenneth Fuchs, “Out of the Dark”. At turns expansive and dissonant, Fuchs’s work evokes a palette of sounds developed in American music over the past hundred years, and was inspired by the works of abstract expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler.

When Fuchs lived in New York City, he fell in love with her paintings. “Her large, freewheeling, brilliantly colored canvases embodied for me the true spirit of the enterprise. The work is inspired by three large paintings: Heart of November, Out of the Dark, and Summer Banner. These canvases and their titles suggest to me a progression from tension to resolution, and it is this concept I have attempted to express in music,” he said.

Maestro Kevin Rhodes brings a personal touch to this performance.

“As a friend of mine, we are very excited to be playing Mr. Fuchs’s music for the very first time,” Rhodes said. “‘Out of the Dark’ is an evocative essay of sound and color and will feature the strings of the SSO.”

The orchestra’s performance of Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 4” also promises to be a highlight of the evening. From its opening ebullient notes, Mendelssohn’s “Italian Symphony” brings to life the color of the old world.

“With opera-like elodies, evocations of pilgrims traveling to Rome, and tarantellas being danced in the streets of Naples, this is a piece everyone knows and loves, even if you don’t know classical music,” Rhodes said.

For the evening’s concluding performance, Strauss will join the SSO in delivering what Rhodes describes as “THE German violin concerto,” Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major. Strauss is a past favorite of Springfield audiences and is the first German-born winner of the international Naumburg Violin Award.

“Mr. Strauss’s performance promises to be an interpretation to remember,” Rhodes added.

Classical Conversations, Pre-Concert Discussion

Concertgoers are invited to deepen their musical experience with the SSO’s “Classical Conversations” discussion, at 6:30 p.m. at Symphony Hall. Free to all ticket holders, this informal presentation focuses on the works to be performed that evening. The discussion will be led by NEPR’s John Nowacki, and will include a Q&A session with none other than Kenneth Fuchs himself. Casual and informative, this event will provide a context that will allow you to more fully enjoy the evening’s program.

Great Deals on Tickets

For adults, single tickets start at just $22, and per Marketing Director Ann Rasmussen, “With the wonderful acoustics & seating plan at Springfield Symphony Hall, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.” Tickets for children ages 4 to 17 and full-time college students with a valid student ID are only $10 per concert.

“Our $10 kids & college student tickets apply to any concert and will help families create an affordable night out with everyone,” Rasmussen said.

Groups of 10 or more receive a 25 percent discount off individual prices. For group and individual tickets, call the Springfield Symphony Box Office at 733-2291 or visit in person at 1350 Main St.

Tickets are also available online at http://tickets.springfieldsymphony.org. The evening’s concert sponsor is The Wood Family Foundation. MassMutual Financial Group is the official sponsor of the 71st concert season.