April brings new possibilities for the Oregon Symphony

Midori Plays Elgar
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
April 7- 9
Sat. & Sun. – 7:30 p.m.
Mon. – 8 p.m.

Gil and Orli Shaham in Recital
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
April 17
7:30 p.m.

Haydn, Ravel and Wagner
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
April 28-30
Sat. & Sun. – 7:30 p.m.
Mon – 8 p.m.

Although the Oregon Symphony is known for its quality musical performances and outreach, a successful program could not function without an exceptional director. The Oregon Symphony’s musical director and conductor James DePreist has brought prominence and pride to the Oregon Symphony during his 21-year residence.

The Symphony claims that DePreist helped the organization make “quantum leaps in artistic quality and community service” over the past two decades. On DePreist’s first recording with the Oregon Symphony, a critic charged the maestro with turning “an orchestra of regional significance into one worthy of national, and perhaps even international, attention…”

However, all good things must come to an end. DePreist will retire in 2005 after 25 years of service in the Oregon Symphony. Though DePreist’s retirement is four years away, the search is on for his replacement. Over the next three seasons, the Oregon Symphony will turn this important search into a unique musical opportunity.

A number of qualified conductors from all over the world will come to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to conduct exquisite pieces. Through these pieces, the would-be musical directors will be “interviewed” by Portland audiences to select the next head of the Oregon Symphony.

Many Oregon Symphony musical director hopefuls have already commanded the stage at the Schnitz this season. To get a taste of the directorial race, visit the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall this weekend. England’s David Lockington will be in town to place his bid for the Symphony seat.

Lockington may be British, but he’s been working in the United States for quite some time. For the past two decades, while DePreist was building today’s acclaimed Oregon Symphony, Lockington was busy floating from coast to coast, creating what the Oregon Symphony calls “an impressive conducting career in the United States.” Lockington currently heads the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

To make his impression on Portland, Lockington will conduct the world-famous violinist Midori for the “Midori plays Elgar” concert as part of the Classical Bravo Series.

From an early age, Midori has been recognized and hailed as one of the violin greats in music today. Her performances have taken her to all corners of the world, from recordings to recitals, to chamber music festivals. Her career has brought her in the presence of legends such as Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma, and with the world’s greatest symphony orchestras.

This pair will take to the Schnitz’s stage on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (April 7-9). In addition to the concerto by Sir Edward Elgar, a piece by Richard Strauss and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 will be performed.

It’s a great chance to see a world-famous violinist and possibly the next Musical Director/Conductor for the Oregon Symphony.

The Saturday and Sunday concerts start at 7:30 p.m., and the Monday concert starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost from $15-70, and can be bought at the Oregon Symphony’s ticket office at 923 S.W. Washington, or at any Ticketmaster location.

That’s not all that the Oregon Symphony has in store for April. On Tuesday, April 17, a brother and sister team will show up to perform chamber music. Gil and Orli Shaham are both young talents in their own right, gaining national and international acclaim. Gil has just recently been nominated for a Grammy for one of his recordings, and Orli received a prestigious Young Artist’s Award. With brother on violin and sister on piano, the pair promises an evening of chamber music that is surely a family affair.

Another piece of the Classical Bravo Series will be the “Haydn, Ravel and Wagner” concert on April 28-30. Resident conductor Norman Leyden directs world famous pianist/conductor Jeffrey Kahane. Kahane’s versatility as a pianist gives him the reign to perform pieces from Bach to Bernstein. The “Haydn, Ravel and Wagner” concert will show off that versatility, with the hardcore classical Wagner pieces, and the somewhat jazzy Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major.

Stay tuned to the Oregon Symphony for more guest conductors, and a brand new season. The Oregon Symphony can be reached by phone at (503) 228-4294 or via the Internet at http://www.orsymphony.org.