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DAYTON, OH (February 6, 2013) – On Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Music Director Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present Russian Masters, the sixth concert in the DPO 2012-2013 Imagine Season’s Premiere Health Classical Series.

The orchestra for this concert includes the addition of many percussion instruments such as a base drum, cymbals, snare drums, glockenspiels, xylophones, tambourines and tam tams swelling its ranks. This is Russian music, arguably the most emotional and visceral of all the world’s music. It took masterful composers to create it, and it requires talented musicians to perform it properly. This concert has both.

It begins with Mikhail Glinka’s Overture to the opera Russlan and Ludmilla. Describing this overture, the words enthusiastic, quick moving, lyrical, and fantastic come to mind. After all, the story of the opera comes from a fairy tale by Russian author Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin about a young, engaged woman who is kidnapped by a devilish dwarf and is -- after many incredible, bizarre adventures -- rescued by her fiancé and married.

DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung then performs the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1. The manner in which Shostakovich wrote this concerto can only be described as defiant. It was the late 1940s, and – in the Stalin-era Soviet Union, particularly Russia – censorship was pervasive. All artists – composers, playwrights, and dancers – had their productions screened by censors ten days in advance of their premieres. While political and ideological reasons could be advanced in banning works, oftentimes the actual reasons for censors doing so were petty and personal, a flexing of their authoritarian muscle. So, while Shostakovich actually wrote his complex and abstract Violin Concerto No. 1 to satisfy himself in the late ‘40s, he didn’t publish it until after Stalin died in 1953 and didn’t premiere it until 1955.

To call the Shostakovich piece challenging would be an exercise in understatement. Ask the woman who will perform it. DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung calls it “…monumental, almost symphonic in scope with challenges inextricably linked to its historical context and a captivating sense of darkness. The third of the four movements has layers of cynicism, suspicion and deep anguish.”

Rachmaninoff‘s Symphony No. 2, a symphony exhibiting soaring melodies and great strength, brings the evening to a brilliant climax. The first movement is uniquely Russian in its atmosphere of despondency, doom, and sadness. The second movement is almost the reverse of the first in mood, oozing fire, color, hopefulness, and a sense of freedom. The emotional, overwhelming and lyrical third movement conjures up images of things undone, dreams unrealized, and hopes deserted. And the final movement offers hope based on our own abilities to trust in tomorrow – it bursts out, becomes furious, burns suddenly and brightly, abounds with life, stresses, and overwhelms.

On both concert evenings at 7 p.m. in the Mead Theatre, DPO Music Director Neal Gittleman will conduct a Take Note pre-concert discussion. Take Note is sponsored by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Volunteer Association.     
Dayton Encore, the Young Professionals classical arts group, will hold a networking event at the Dayton Racquet Club prior to attending the Friday performance. For more information, visit the Dayton Encore Facebook page.  

Tickets for Russian Masters range from $9 to $59 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 and at Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at box office.


About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.   The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is also the proud recipient of a 12-13 season grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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