Long Beach Symphony to Feature the Music of Beethoven and Shostakovich Saturday April 25

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Long Beach Symphony’s penultimate concert of its 80th season will take place on Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. in the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center (300 E. Ocean Blvd). Guest conductor Lucas Richman, who currently serves as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra as well as for the symphony in Bangor, Maine will lead the orchestra in a program of powerful music.

To open the concert, Maestro Richman will treat audiences to Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, a nine-minute stand-alone work that was written to accompany the play written by Goethe. The concert continues with a staple of the violin repertoire, Chausson’s Poème for Violin and Orchestra, with the Symphony’s own Concertmaster, Roger Wilkie, taking center stage as soloist in this rhapsodic work with tensions that ebb and flow in an advanced harmonic style. Chausson’s work lies between the late Romanticism of Wagner and the impressionism of DeBussy, and he was heavily influenced by the chromaticism of Cesar Franck.

The second half of the concert features Shostakovich’s four-movement Symphony No. 5 in D minor; a work that was composed in 1937 at the height of Stalin’s regime – a time when the Communist Party strongly denounced Dmitri Shostakovich’s existing works. Fearing for his life, Shostakovich ended the fifth symphony with a rousing march. But many questions surround Shostakovich’s intent. Was the symphony meant to celebrate Stalin’s regime? Or did it contain hidden messages that actually protested that system?  Remarkably, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 found immediate favor with both Russian audiences and official critics.

Years after writing this symphony, Shostakovich is alleged to have said, “I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing …’”

During Maestro Richman’s week-long visit to Long Beach, he will, among other activities, conduct a Master Class at Milliken High School with their orchestra as part of a community engagement program developed by the Symphony for all of its guest conductors.  He will also conduct the 7:00 p.m. pre-concert talk, during which he will converse with the Symphony’s Concertmaster and soloist, Roger Wilkie.

Executive Director of the Symphony, Kelly Ruggirello, commented on the importance of allowing interaction between the guest conductors and various community constituents stating, “By interacting from the stage, meeting our staff, our Board, and the families that call Long Beach home, our guest conductors get a glimpse of what makes Long Beach Symphony such a special and important institution in Southern California.  When our Artistic Director is chosen, that connection with the local area becomes paramount.”

The Long Beach Symphony Classical concert series is sponsored, in part, by Lexus.

Tickets start at $21; student tickets are available for $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the Symphony’s website at www.longbeachsymphony.org or call 562-436-3203.

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