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Internationally Renowned Pianist Spencer Myer Returns to the Schuster Center, Joining the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra to Captivate Audiences from Mozart to Mahler

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x 1138

DAYTON, OH (October 3, 2014) – On Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18 at 8 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present Mozart to Mahler, the second concert in the 2014–2015 Premier Health Classical Series. With a “voice that induces goose bumps” (The Arizona Daily Star), Soprano Mary Wilson joins as guest vocalist.   Described as “gloriously expressive” by the Indianapolis Star, with “alert musicianship and generous tone” (The Boston Globe), guest pianist Spencer Myer returns to the Mead Theatre to captivate concertgoers with his powerful and emotional command of the piano.  Spencer Myer appears as the Louis S. Cantor, Rose Sorokin Cantor, Samuel L. Cantor, and Lena Cantor Endowed Guest Artist.

Then, on Sunday, October 19 at 3 pm in the Mead Theater of the Schuster Center, Maestro Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the 2014-2015 Demirjian Classical Connections Series concert Mahler: The Visionary, with support from Graeter’s. Guest pianist Spencer Myer and soprano Mary Wilson take the stage once again with Maestro Gittleman and the DPO to take a closer look at Mahler’s fourth symphony.  A Q&A with Neal and a Graeter’s ice-cream social follow this Sunday concert.

One of only two piano concertos Mozart composed in a minor key (No. 24 was the other), the Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor begins with a dark atmosphere in the opening Allegro movement that the strings and piano soloist brighten slightly, almost as though afraid to release the minor key’s hold. The second movement, Romance, sounds at its onset almost like a practice piece for aspiring piano students. However, it soon becomes apparent that no degree of skill will suffice to portray the insightful, heartfelt emotion of the quietly intense music here that puts the use of a minor key to glorious, nonthreatening use. The final movement, Rondo allegro assai (repeating theme and contrasts), pushes the pianist not only to interpret the work as skillfully as Mozart would have desired but also to convey the emotion that was his overriding intent.  Guest pianist and internationally renowned virtuoso Spencer Myer brings a wealth of adroit performance experience to the task of interpreting one of Mozart’s most memorable and praiseworthy compositional efforts. 

Gustav Mahler’s Das irdische Leben is a dark, ominous piece worthy of the term draconian—more Russian than German in its pessimistic nature. The piece, most often performed in a vocal medium by a soprano, is taken from the German anthology Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth's Magic Horn). Its text revolves around a plea by a child ("Mother, oh Mother! I'm hungry! Give me bread; otherwise I will die!") to a mother ("Just wait, just wait, my darling child.”) The wait is too long, and the child dies. Having previously starred in lead roles with Dayton Opera and performed previously with Dayton Philharmonic, guest vocalist soprano Mary Wilson returns to the Schuster Center to lend her exquisite voice to the chilling music of Mahler.

Gustav Mahler marked the first movement of his Symphony No. 4 in G major “moderately, not rushed.” Its sound makes it seem to have been written in a minor key rather than major, as many of his ten symphonies were. The second movement (“leisurely moving, without haste”) is reminiscent of a Lindler, a German/Austrian folk dance, and the interplay of various themes has the ability to lead one into daydreaming of earlier, perhaps happier times. The third movement (“peacefully, somewhat slowly”), the longest of the four, starts off very softly and gradually morphs into an idyllic passage. Then one long-held note signals a transformation to a rhapsodic theme with a clarinet’s three-note replication of the sound of a cuckoo that other sections repeat. The final movement, marked “very comfortably, strophic” (meaning that all verses or stanzas use the same music), opens with woodwinds underscoring a theme that mimics the sound of a bird, intercut with a driving, almost frenetic theme of winds and brass. This last movement calls up mental images of an aerial trip over the mountains, forests, and rivers of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

On both Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m., one hour before each performance, there will be a Take Note pre-concert talk in the Mead Theatre with DPO Assistant Conductor Patrick Reynolds and pianist Spencer Myer.  On Sunday after the performance, there will be a Q&A with Neal Gittleman, complete with a Graeter’s ice-cream social to top off the afternoon.

Tickets for Mozart to Mahler range from $11 to $61 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Tickets for Mahler: The Visonary range from $11 to $41, and are also available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and military discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit


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 proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
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