The Long Beach Symphony playing Barber and Mahler will host guest soprano Elissa Johnston.

Long Beach Symphony features Mexican and American music on February 8, 2020

On Saturday, February 8 at 8:00 PM, in the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center (300 E. Ocean Blvd), the Long Beach Symphony will celebrate the rich heritage of folk melodies from the United States and Mexico relived by 20th Century composers.

The program opens and closes with works by American Aaron Copland. The first, El Salón México, is named after a dance hall said to have played three kinds of music: one for the upper-class, a more vigorous working-class music and a foot-stomping music of the peasantry. As the music segues from one class to the other, audiences will hear drunkenness, twirling dancers, lots of brass and some memorable clarinet solos.

Next, the audience will be taken south of the border to hear from Arturo Márquez (b. 1950), who captures the essence of his native Mexico in his charming Concerto for Harp “Mascaras” that will be delivered by internationally renowned harpist, Ina Zdorovetchi, noted for her compelling interpretations and unique tone. Hailed as “the harp whisperer” as well as “monster player,” she has appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world, has premiered several harp concertos by prominent composers and has received numerous competition awards. Ms. Zdorovetchi resides in Boston, MA, playing as principal harpist with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Portland (Maine) Symphony, and Boston Lyric Opera and teaching as the Associate Professor of Harp at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Ms. Zdorovetchi is replacing Ms. Kondanassis who was originally scheduled to perform.

Following intermission, the Symphony will present Carlos Chávez’s most popular composition, his Symphony No. 2, “Sinfonía india,” which is comprised of three melodies originating from native-American tribes of northern Mexico.

The final work on the evening’s program is Copland’s captivating Appalachian Spring orchestral suite, perhaps best known for its “Simple Gifts” melody, which was taken from a collection of Shaker melodies. It is first presented by a solo clarinet, then majestically reiterated by orchestra and brass – real goose bump music. Bursting with the sounds of Americana, this moving composition by Copland will linger in listeners’ hearts long after the music stops playing.

Ticketholders are invited to attend a pre-concert talk at 7:00 PM by Maestro Eckart Preu and guest soloist Ina Zdorovetchi or to enjoy free live music in the lobby of the hall before the concert.

This concert is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Jon Masterson and Wallboard Tools Co., Inc.

Founded in 1934, the Long Beach Symphony’s concerts offer music lovers the opportunity to hear live orchestral music without having to drive to LA or Orange County – a real gift to the community given today’s traffic challenges.

Most notable in the 2019–2020 Classical Season is the Violins of Hope Concert on April 25, 2020, in which Symphony musicians will play stringed instruments that were played by Jewish musicians in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The concert ends with the Verdi Requiem, which was performed by the Jewish orchestra and chorus in silent protest during the Nazi’s SS visit at the Theresienstadt camp in 1944. The project includes related lectures, a film, panel discussion, two chamber music concerts and a week of programs in local schools and colleges, all intended to create a region-wide dialogue about music, art, social justice and free expression.

In March, guest violinist Stefan Jackiw will solo on Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. We wrap the Classical season with an exploration of love and war by Romantic composers on May 30, with works by Liszt, Clara Schumann, and Brahms.

In the Symphony POPS! series, February 22 brings a celebration of Mardi Gras infused with New Orleans jazz. On March 21 a tribute to the blockbuster music of Broadway when stars of Broadway sing tunes from Lloyd Webber, Bernstein, Gershwin, and more! The POPS! season ends with energy on May 9 with A Night of Symphonic Rock featuring an all-star band playing classic rock favorites.

The POPS! Series is presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank.

A full listing of the works on each concert for the 2019–2020 season, including the featured soloists and guest artists, is shown below. Tickets to the Symphony’s Classical and POPS! concerts start at $30 (student tickets $10). Mini-subscriptions of 3 mix-and match classical or POPS! concerts are available for $120. For more information, or to purchase tickets and subscriptions, please visit www.LongBeachSymphony.org or call (562) 436-3203.

This article was released by the Long Beach Symphony.