January 26, 2018
The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s (GJSO) 2017-18 Season continues with Rachmaninoff & The Firebird on Saturday, February 10th at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 11th at 3:00pm. Both performances will be held at the Avalon Theatre.
Pianist Spencer Myer makes his Grand Junction debut performing Rachmaninoff’s famed Piano Concerto No. 2. The GJSO will also be performing Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite.
Lauded for “superb playing” and “poised, alert musicianship” by The Boston Globe and labeled “definitely a man to watch” by London’s The Independent, American pianist SPENCER MYER is one of the most respected and sought-after artists on today’s concert stages.
Adding to his coast-to-coast credentials, Spencer Myer includes in his current season debuts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, Arizona’s Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Colorado’s Grand Junction and Longmont symphony orchestras, as well as return engagements with the Duluth Superior and Southeast Iowa symphony orchestras and a fifth tour of South Africa. Summer, 2018 includes his return to Wisconsin’s Peninsula Music Festival. His solo recitals and chamber music collaborations take him throughout the United States, and he continues as half of the Daurov/Myer Duo, having teamed up with the award-winning cellist Adrian Daurov in 2012. The Duo’s schedule includes a prestigious debut at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
An enthusiastic supporter of the education of young musicians, Spencer Myer has been a frequent guest artist at workshops for students and teachers, and has served on the faculties of the Baldwin-Wallace University and Oberlin College conservatories of music. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University. In the fall of 2016, Mr. Myer was appointed Artist-Teacher in Piano and Collaborative Piano at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. The complete work was premiered, with the composer as soloist, on 9 November 1901, with his cousin Alexander Siloti conducting. This piece is one of Rachmaninoff’s most enduringly popular pieces, and established his fame as a concerto composer.
Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a symphonic poem for orchestra, approximately 10 minutes in duration. The composition was inspired by the poem L’après-midi d’un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé. It is one of Debussy’s most famous works and is considered a turning point in the history of music; Pierre Boulez considered the score to be the beginning of modern music, observing that “the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music.”
The Firebird is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1910 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company. It is based on the Russian fairy tales of the Firebird and the blessing and curse it possesses for its owner. When first performed at the Opéra de Paris on June 25, 1910, the work was an instant success with both audience and critics.
The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky’s breakthrough piece, but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce the acclaimed ballets Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). Besides the complete 50-minute ballet score of 1909–10 (written for a very large orchestra including quadruple woodwind and three harps, as well as a piano), there are three shorter suites arranged by the composer himself for concert performance which date from 1911, 1919 and 1945. The 1919 Suite, being performed by the GJSO, remains the most well known and often played.
Rachmaninoff & The Firebird is sponsored by Anita Johnson, the Grand Junction Symphony Guild, and Ron Beckman. As the Grand Junction Symphony Guild and the GJSO approach their 40th anniversary this fall, a public celebration event featuring catered appetizers and a cash bar will be held Saturday night, February 10, immediately following the concert.
Tickets for both performances are still available for $20 – $40 for adults and $5 for students. They can be purchased online at GJSO.org, by calling 970-243-6787, or by visiting the GJSO office at 414 Main Street. Tickets are also available from the Monumental Events box office at the Avalon Theatre. Monday-Saturday, Noon-8pm or by phone at 800-626-TIXS(8497).