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Towering Brahms’ Violin Concerto in expert young hands with violinist Rachel Lee Priday

February 22, 2017

On Saturday & Sunday, March 4th & 5th, violinist Rachel Lee Priday (pry-day) returns to the Grand Valley to make her debut performance with the Grand Junction Symphony in Lee Plays Brahms. Priday performed with pianist Susan Ellinger last season as part of the Grand Junction Symphony’s Chamber Concert Series and is returning to tackle the formidable Brahms’ Violin Concerto.

Performances will be held at the Avalon Theatre on Saturday, March 4th at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 5th at 3:00pm in a weekend of concerts which will also include performances of Margaret Brouwer’s contemporary work Pulse and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7.

Violinist Rachel Lee Priday, acclaimed for her beauty of tone, riveting stage presence, and “irresistible panache” (Chicago Tribune), has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Seattle, and National Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle. Critics have praised her “dazzling, forceful technique,” “rich, mellifluous sound,” and “silvery fluidity.” Combining a fierce intelligence with an imaginative curiosity, her wide-ranging repertoire and eclectic programming reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives, as an artist who seeks contemporary resonances with the masterworks of the past.

Rachel has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and The Strad Magazine. Her performances have been broadcast on major media outlets in the U.S., Germany, Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, including a televised concert in Rio de Janeiro, numerous radio appearances on 98.7 WFMT Chicago radio, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Her television credits include appearances on the Disney Channel, “Fiddling for the Future” and “American Masters” on PBS, and the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Rachel made her orchestral debut at the Aspen Music Festival in 1997 at the age of nine, and the following year performed at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. A native of Chicago, Rachel began her violin studies at the age of four, and in 1996, moved to New York to study with the late pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. She continued her studies at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with Itzhak Perlman. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried through its joint dual-degree program with Harvard College.

Margaret Brouwer’s Pulse was written in 2003 and was commissioned by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the ensemble’s fiftieth anniversary.  As the title suggests, rhythm plays an important role in this work.  A variety of pulses and rhythmic ideas are explored by the orchestra over a steady, underlying pulse.  A “spirit motive” is introduced and eventually connects with all the exciting rhythmic activity.  This short enjoyable work is filled with lively melodies and rhythms.

Czech composer Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 was written for the Philharmonic Society of London.  Dvořák wanted to use the symphony to explain the internal struggle he felt between the peace and love he felt for his country with the struggle he felt his country was going through to become an independent and successful nation.  He completed the sketch of the first movement in five days, the second movement in ten more days.  The fourth movement is supposed to display the Czech people’s resistance to political oppression.  It was premiered in London in 1885, with Dvořák conducting.  The symphony was well-received and has continued to be popular, primarily among conductors and musicians.

Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto was dedicated to his long-time friend Joseph Joachim, who considered it one of the four great German violin concertos. The concerto premiered in 1879 with Joachim as the soloist and Brahms conducting.  The program began with Joachim playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major and ended with Brahms’s new work. The piece is very technically demanding requiring many special skills from the soloist.  Now, the work is accepted as one of the monuments of the violin repertoire.

The Grand Junction Symphony’s 2016-2017 Season is sponsored by Ethos Financial Partners and Lee Plays Brahms is sponsored by long-time supporter Anita Johnson and the Grand Junction Symphony Guild.

Tickets are $20-$40 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased online at, by calling 970-243-6787, by visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street, or at the Avalon Theatre box office one hour prior to each performance.

Grand Junction Symphony Guild invites you to a Symphony Soiree

On Thursday, March 2nd, the Grand Junction Symphony Guild will be holding their second Symphony Soiree in as many months at the Colorado Canyons Gallery (632 Main Street) from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Homemade appetizers, wine & drinks, conversation, and music from violinist Rachel Lee Priday all make for a fabulous evening out.

Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online at, by calling 970-243-6787, or by visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street.

Reservations must be made by Wednesday, March 1st.

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