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Dashing Piano Virtuoso Tackles Liszt, RPO Presents Beethoven's Seventh

September 25, 2006

RPO’s First Philharmonics Concert of the Season Features Young von Oeyen

Rochester, NY – The fresh start to the RPO’s 2006-07 Philharmonics Series introduces a fresh face in the early stages of a major career, the dashing 26-year old pianist Andrew von Oeyen.  As proof that his youth doesn’t belie his talents, von Oeyen will perform Liszt’s brilliant Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major on Thursday, October 12 and Saturday, October 14 at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre, under the baton of Music Director Christopher Seaman.  In addition, Maestro Seaman will host the Pre-Concert Chat at 7 p.m. 

Since his debut at age 17 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, von Oeyen has gone on to international success, including winning the prestigious 1999 Gilmore Young Artist Award.  Subsequently, he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Detroit, St. Louis, Singapore, Atlanta and Seattle Symphonies; and the Grant Park Festival.  This season, he has engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra; the San Francisco, New Mexico, Hartford, and Utah Symphonies; and performs in recital at the Kennedy Center.  A graduate of The Juilliard School, where his principal teachers were Herbert Stessin and Jerome Lowenthal, von Oeyen began his piano studies at age five, and made his solo orchestral debut at 10. 

The concert opens with Toccata Concertante (1947) by Irving Fine, which Maestro Seaman calls “an energetic and extroverted piece, putting everybody into an excellent humor.”  Fine used many solo instruments in this neo-classically styled piece, with an affinity for the energetic music of the Baroque concertos.

Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is essentially a symphonic tone poem — a form of orchestral music inspired by literature, artwork, or nature ­— with the piano soloist as the central character.  The Concerto contains ample amounts of humor, drama, tenderness, and commanding energy, as well as a triangle solo in the scherzo section. The heroic demands of the solo part reflect Liszt’s own pianistic virtuosity; the composer himself was the soloist in the 1855 premiere.

Beethoven’s extraordinary Symphony No. 7 has become a favorite since it first was introduced in 1813 at a fundraiser in support of troops wounded in the Napoleonic wars, when audiences called for its immediate encore.  The Symphony covers a wide range of moods, with three of its four movements overflowing with energy and high spirits.  However, the slow second movement communicates the most profound expression of grief and despair that had been heard in symphonic music up to that time. 

Tickets for these performances are $20-$54, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, as well as at all Wegmans Video Departments.  RPO Box Office Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). The Wegmans Video Department is open seven days a week, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. A convenience fee may apply.

The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb. This concert is made possible in part by Messenger Post Newspapers.  The RPO gratefully acknowledges PAETEC Communications Inc. for the PAETEC Philharmonic Partners program, which offers discounted Philharmonics Series tickets to local college students. 

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO. 


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