Maestra Mei-Ann Chen Conducts LB Symphony With Pianist Joyce Yang

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Maestra Mei-Ann Chen and Pianist Joyce Yang

Maestra Mei-Ann Chen and Pianist Joyce Yang

On Saturday, November 19 at 8:00 p.m., Long Beach Symphony welcomes dynamic guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen to the podium of the Terrace Theater in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center (300 E. Ocean Blvd.) for a concert that includes works by Rachmaninoff, Glinka and Respighi.  Maestra Chen currently serves as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta, where she has developed an international reputation for both her stunning artistry on the podium and as a proponent of diversity on the orchestra stage.

The concert opens with Glinka’s whirlwind Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, an energetic curtain-raiser with a uniquely Russian heroic feeling, based on the eponymous poem by Alexander Pushkin from 1820.  Then, pianist Joyce Yang, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Medalist lauded by the Washington Post for her “poetic and sensitive pianism,” will dazzle audiences with her interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The work consists of an introduction followed by 24 variations of great rhythmic vitality, among them the heart-swooning 18th variation that entered mainstream cultural consciousness to the film, “Somewhere in Time.”

Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at the age of four. In 1997, she moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of the Juilliard School, ultimately graduating from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.

Following intermission, the orchestra turns to music by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, whose reputation rests primarily on his ‘Roman Trilogy’, three separately conceived works written 1916-1928 that convey his impressions of that magnificent city using a wide range of instrumental colors.  Audiences will hear two of those works, Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome.

Reflecting on the concert, Executive Director Kelly Lucera mused, “both Mei Ann Chen and Joyce Yang are such incredible international talents.  Our musicians truly thrive on performing with artists that bring such energy and fresh approaches to their craft.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy music in the lobby, and attendees are invited to hear a free pre-concert talk at 7:00 PM hosted by Maestra Chen and KUSC’s Rich Capparela.

Tickets to the Long Beach Symphony’s Classical concerts start at $25. For more information, or to purchase tickets and subscriptions, please visit the Symphony’s website at www.LongBeachSymphony.org or call 562-436-3203 ext. 1.

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One Response to “Maestra Mei-Ann Chen Conducts LB Symphony With Pianist Joyce Yang”
  1. Sounds like a great night of music to me. I’ll be there with my wife.