Spring Concert, March 20, 2011

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society
P.O. Box 5550, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745

6. March 2011

Kamuela Philharmonic Announces Spring Concert, March 20, 2011

The Kamuela Philhamonic will conclude its 2010-2011 concert season with a performance of the Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 35, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, featuring Michael Russell as soloist, and Symphony No 6 in F major, Opus 68 (“Pastoral”) by Ludwig van Beethoven. The concert will begin at 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Kahilu Theater in Waimea, and admission is free. Audience members are advised to arrive no later than 3:15 pm, since space is limited.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, which was composed in 1878, is one of the best known and most technically difficult of all violin concertos. During a rest cure at a Swiss resort to combat one of the bouts of depression he suffered periodically throughout his life, Tchaikovsky wrote the original score for violin and piano in a month’s time, with the advice and inspiration of his composition student, friend (and rumored lover) violinist Iosif Kotek. The contributions of several noted violin soloists of the day, including Leopold Auer (who re-edited the solo part so it was less “unplayable”), Adolph Brodsky (who eventually premiered the work in Vienna in 1881) and Karel Halir (who popularized the orchestral version of the piece) helped Tchaikovsky’s composition win its current place in the violin repertoire. This piece, like most concerti, is in three movements. However, the many difficult modal scales and multiple stop passages it contains reflect Tchaikovsky’s desire to avoid routine, seek out new forms and think more about musical beauty than observing established traditions, emulating composers such as Edouard Lalo and Georges Bizet whose “freshness, lightness, piquant rhythms, beautiful and excellently harmonized melodies” he greatly admired.

Those who heard soloist Michael Russell, assistant concertmaster of the Kamuela Philharmonic, perform “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the group in 2005, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor in 2006, know his performance of this concerto is something to look forward to. Before moving to Hawaii, Russell was an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where as well as teaching violin and viola, he coordinated the chamber music program and conducted the University Symphony. He was also a member of the Kennard Trio, the university’s resident piano trio. He has presented solo recitals, concertos, chamber music and symphony programs throughout the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Southwest United States, as well as in Peru and northern Mexico. Andor Toth, Dr. John Ferrell and Dr. Robert Billups were Russell’s principal violin teachers, and he studied conducting with both Toth and Dr. Leonard Pearlman. Russell has been a part of the Big Island classical music scene since 2003, as a freelance violinist/violist and conductor. He also teaches applied strings at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and maintains a studio of private string students in Hilo. He has loved Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto since he heard it in middle school because it is “full of memorable melodies and exciting rhythms that stir the emotions of audiences and performers alike.”

Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” is a piece the Kamuela Philharmonic has looked forward to being able to perform as it has grown and improved over the years, since Beethoven is a favorite composer of many orchestra members. Written at the same time as his famous Fifth Symphony, it is one of the few works Beethoven composed with a specific “theme,” and was premiered in Vienna along with that piece in 1808. Beethoven was a nature lover who preferred to work in rural locales and who spent a lot of time on long walks in the country. The piece has five movements (Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country): Allegro ma non troppo, (Scene at the brook): Andante molto mosso, (Happy gathering of country folk): Allegro; (Thunderstorm: Storm): Allegro and (Shepherds’ song; cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm): Allegretto, instead of the standard four. In this piece Beethoven attempted to express symphonically his emotions about the loveliness of pastoral settings. Although not as immediately popular as his fiery Fifth Symphony, this work has become a standard of the symphonic repertoire, is greatly admired by many listeners, and is frequently performed and recorded.

If you want to contribute to the future growth and improvement of our organization, and assist us in continuing to provide live, high quality orchestral music to Big Island audiences, your donation to our calabash, which will be in the lobby before and after the concert, would be greatly appreciated. The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society is qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, so any donations you make to us may be tax deductible. You can also contribute by mail to P.O. Box 5550, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745, or via Paypal on our website. For more information about the Kamuela Philharmonic and our programs, please visit our website at Kamuelaphil.com.

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