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Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Proudly Performs Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Mendelssohn’s Dazzling Violin Concerto in "Songs of the Heart" This January

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138 

DAYTON, OH (December 18, 2015) – On Friday, January 8, 2016 and Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 8 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present Songs of the Heart, the third concert in the Premier Health 2015-2016 Classical Series.  Guest vocalists mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and tenor John Pickle fill the stage with song, and DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung delights with a masterful violin concerto. 

Then on Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 3 p.m. in the Mead Theater of the Schuster Center, Maestro Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the second 2015-2016 Demirjian Classical Connections Series concert, Mahler’s Songs, with support from Graeter’s. 

The classical concerts on Friday and Saturday begin with a gorgeous violin concerto by Felix Mendelssohn.  The heartwarming beauty of expression through instrument reaps glorious results in Mendelssohn’s powerful and passionate 1844 Violin Concerto, one of the finest violin concertos in the orchestral repertoire.  At the celebration of Mendelssohn’s 75th birthday in 1906, Joseph Joachim said, “The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, the most uncompromising, is Beethoven’s. The one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness. The richest, the most seductive, was written by Max Bruch. But the most inward, the heart’s jewel, is Mendelssohn’s.”  This exquisite, delightful and radiant masterwork, one of the foremost violin concertos of the Romantic era, will be performed by DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung, who will thrill audiences as the piece swells to its dazzling finish.

After intermission, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra proudly presents Gustav Mahler’s 1909 Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth).  In this masterpiece, which Leonard Bernstein deemed Mahler’s “greatest symphony,” engaging themes such as living, loss and salvation leap forth. Written during a time of personal tragedy for Mahler, the work gives voice to his sadness and loneliness while still embracing life. The piece comprises six songs intended for two singers.  Mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and tenor John Pickle will join forces to uncover the depth and emotion in one of Mahler’s final compositions. 

“I am thrilled to be returning to Dayton for Das Lied von der Erde,” said vocalist John Pickle. “Leonard Bernstein has described Das Lied von der Erde as Mahler's greatest symphony. I am anxious to hear what the Dayton Philharmonic and Maestro Gittleman can do with the piece. I have great respect for the DPO because they play such a wide variety of music at an extremely high level. This Mahler journey that we will take together should be nothing short of spectacular.”

Interestingly, Mahler had written eight symphonies prior to Das Lied von der Erde, and he was well aware of the so-called “curse of the ninth,” a superstition born from the fact that no major composer since Beethoven had successfully completed more than nine symphonies before dying.  Mahler originally named this symphony, his ninth major work, "A Symphony for Tenor, Alto and Large Orchestra" but, in an effort to avoid the haunting curse, left it unnumbered as a symphony. 

On Sunday January 10, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde will be the featured piece of music on the Classical Connections concert.  This unique format features musical examples, description and explanation by Maestro Gittleman on the first half, followed by a full performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde directly after intermission.  A Casual Q&A with Maestro Gittleman and a Graeter’s Ice Cream Social will follow the concert.

Tickets for Songs of the Heart range from $14 to $61 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Tickets for Sunday’s performance of Mahler’s Songs range from $14 to $41 and are also available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and student 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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