Ralph Votapek “Virtuosity” concert – Jackson
Ralph Votapek returns to Jackson for “Virtuosity” concert
Virtuosity! You could say we’ve saved the best for last but that would be unfair and untrue – but it is difficult to imagine a more exciting finale to any orchestral season. The Jackson Symphony Orchestra will end its season in a big time way at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3 in Potter Center Music Hall at Jackson College. First nationally renowned pianist Ralph Votapek returns to Jackson to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto to Piano and Orchestra #3, followed by the world premiere of Seven Ascents for Flute and Orchestra by Marjan Helms with flutist Richard Sherman. “Virtuosity” is sponsored by Curtis & Curtis, P.C.
Seven Ascents for Flute and Orchestra is a concerto in seven movements, mirroring the questioning and seeking character in a life journey of spiritual exploration, conducted by David Schultz. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Serge Prokofiev, conducted by Stephen Osmond, includes a solo by Ralph Votapek.
Marjan Helms is a Composer-i- Residence for the MSU Community Music School and writes for choral groups, children’s choirs as well as orchestra. Osmond explains the “interconnected movements evolve organically from beginning to end in hauntingly beautiful melodies, fresh harmonic language, and colorful orchestration to create a work of powerful vision and optimism.” This piece is known for its emotional eloquence and depth and it seems to be created specifically for the sensitive virtuosity of JSO principal flutist Richard Sherman.
Sherman is professor of flute at the MSU College of Music, serves as the artistic director for the Absolute Music Chamber Series and the Lansing Symphony Chamber Series. He is a soloist, orchestral musician, and recitalist, a dynamic and powerful performer. He currently serves as the principal flute with the Chautauqua, N.Y. and the Lansing Symphony Orchestras.
The other highlight will be Ralph Votapek returning to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra #3, certainly one of the most popular and important concerti of the 20th Century. Votapek has appeared with nearly every major orchestra in this country and on every continent of the world. His pianism and artistry is acclaimed internationally. Fifty one years ago he burst on the scene winning the first ever Van Cliburn Competition; he will be performing the same piece he won with then. The piece is filled with dynamic conversations between piano and orchestra, ranging from dramatic, powerful confrontation to lyrical music making. The concerto was the focal point of the 1980 film “The Competition” starring Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving. The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success.
Included in the ticket price, audience members may enjoy the 6:30 p.m. Backstage Glimpse presentation, a wonderful opportunity for guests to learn more about the evening’s composers, music, and guest artists. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in Jackson College’s Federer Room and is hosted by Dr. Bruce Brown who promises to educate and entertains his audience.
Tickets range from $18 to $32, with a $5 student price and can be purchased online at www.JacksonSymphony.org, by calling the Jackson Symphony box office at 517‐782‐3221, or purchase them May 3 at the JSO ticket table at Potter Center after 6 p.m.