The Mobile Symphony is preparing for the triumphant return of renowned pianist and Van Cliburn gold medalist Olga Kern for the MSO’s season finale, May 9 and 10 at the Saenger Theatre.
This final Classic concert of the 14-15 season—Russian Romance—features Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila, and Prokofiev’s first symphony, an early Soviet-era gem steeped in Haydn and Mozart.
“This is Olga Kern’s third visit to Mobile, and we couldn’t be more excited,” Scott Speck, MSO music director said. “She first came to our attention when she won the Van Cliburn Competition – and the music she won with was Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3. Now we finally get to perform that very same piece with her.”
“The Mobile Symphony is an extraordinary ensemble, attuned to the styles and sensitivities of many composers,” Speck continued. “But there’s something special about the way this orchestra plays Russian music. This rich, melodic, soulful music gets our juices flowing like nothing else.”
“This concert offers stunning vistas over the music of Mother Russia. It begins with a furiously triumphant overture by Glinka, considered the father of all Russian composers, and continues with a hilariously witty tribute to Mozart by Sergei Prokofiev. The grand finale is one of Rachmaninoff’s most sublime creations: a deeply Slavic piece, suffused with the spirit of Russian Orthodox chants and the most astounding virtuosity.”
Referring to Kern, Celia Mann Baehr, president and CEO, said she believes there is no better way to end a great season than with someone the audience knows and loves.
“For those many hundreds of symphony patrons who have seen Olga before, they will absolutely love seeing her perform Rachmaninoff’s third concerto,” Baehr said. “And for those who have never seen her perform, they will witness one of the true stars in classical music today. Last year we ended our season with the incredible Nobuyuki Tsujii and the audience was overwhelmed. I think this concert will have the same effect. I look forward to hearing our orchestra once again collaborate with an astonishing pianist.”
Russian Romance is sponsored by WKRG, Metcalfe Charitable Trust and Otha and Rosemary Salter. Performances are Saturday, May 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 10, at 2:30 p.m. in the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown Mobile. Tickets range from $20-$65. Students K-12 may attend the Sunday matinee for free when accompanied by one paying adult through the MSO’s Big Red Ticket Program, underwritten by the Alabama Power Foundation. College students can purchase tickets for $10 with valid college identification. Tickets can be purchased by calling the MSO box office at 251-432-2010, in person at 257 Dauphin Street or online at www.mobilesymphony.org.