Valley Symphony Orchestra announces second gig

VSO pic-11-3-11

Special to the Parade

The acclaimed Valley Symphony Orchestra, Peter Dabrowski, Music Director, recently announced its second Orchestra Series concert of the 2011-12 Season, on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. inside the UTPA’s Fine Arts Auditorium in Edinburg, featuring a program of music by Rossini, Liszt, Grieg and Dvorak.

“We are extremely excited to announce the Valley Symphony Orchestra’s second Orchestra Series concert of the 2011-12 Season,” said Larry Kopp, VSO Executive Director. “The concert features a fabulous program of music, including one of the most well-known and loved compositions ever written for orchestra. It’s going to be a great concert and I invite all lovers of music to join us for an incredible evening.”

On the Nov. 3 program are an opera overture by Rossini, the La Cenerentola Overture; Franz Liszt’s virtuoso delight, his Piano Concerto #1 in E-Flat, with prize-winning 17-year old Korean pianist Dong-Yeon Kim as soloist; Edvard Grieg’s immortal masterpieces, the Peer Gynt Suites I & II; and to end the concert on a flamboyant and energetic note, Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance #8, Op. 46.

Gioachino Rossini is best known as a composer of operas, but perhaps better known by the general public as the composer of probably the most famous opera overture ever written, The Barber of Seville Overture, immortalized by Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the famous Looney Tunes Cartoon! Bugs Bunny never appropriated La Cenerentola Overture, but the theme of the opera is one that just about every child is familiar with – the story of Cinderella! With some of Rossini’s most ingratiating melodies and full of his warm humor, wit and joie de vivre, La Cenerentola Overture is a delightful piece and a perfect concert opener.

The second work on the program comes from the pen of a 19th Century “rock star!” Franz Liszt’s concert tours as a solo pianist throughout Europe are the stuff of legends – fainting women, sold-out auditoriums, crowds of adoring fans wherever he appeared, romantic trysts and scorned lovers – but behind the legendary exploits there lies a musician of genius. Besides being the finest pianist of his day, with a technique that even today is rarely matched, Liszt was a composer who wrote exceptional music. His first piano concerto, besides being a virtuoso showpiece for the solo piano, is an innovative work that pushed the boundaries of the concerto form. Luckily for the VSO, a brilliant young pianist equal to the demands of this challenging piece will perform it – 17-year old Korean pianist Dong-Yeon Kim.

Born in South Korea in 1994, Dong-Yeon Kim began piano lessons at age six. He moved to the United States in 2007 to further his musical studies with Dr. Christina Long in Plano, TX. At age 12, he performed the Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor” with the Plano Symphony Orchestra at the Concerto Evening of Texas Conservatory of Young Artists. In 2010, he was named the grand prize winner of the Lake Lewisville Competition and performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 with the Lake Lewisville Symphony. He received first place in the 2010 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition and performed Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jaap van Zweden.

Dong Yeon also has competed in numerous competitions and received top prizes in the New Orleans International, Dallas Symphonic, National Young Artist Institute Competition, MTNA, Wysong-Joplin, and Denton Bach Society competitions. He also enjoys playing chamber music with the Emanon Quintet and has appeared at different venues in the DFW metroplex. Currently, Dong is continuing his studies at Idyllwild Arts Academy in California.

The second half of the concert brings with it one of the most popular works ever written for orchestra – Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. Originally written as music to accompany the play of the same name by the great Norwegian playwright Ibsen, Grieg later extracted two suites of the best music from the many pieces he composed to accompany the original production and published them as separate works. Atmospheric music, capturing the quintessence of the fjords and woods of Norway, the Peer Gynt Suites include the immortal in the Hall of the Mountain King and Morning, exceptional music that literally everyone has heard and loved.

The concert ends with a whirlwind of excitement from Eastern Europe – Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance #8. Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances were the works that made his reputation as a composer. Commissioned by a prestigious music publisher, at the recommendation of Brahms, to write the Slavonic Dances for two pianists, the music sold so well and made so much money that Dvorak was asked to arrange these pieces for orchestra. Using folk music from his native Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), the Slavonic Dance #8 moves forward at a furious pace to a big finish. Just the work to end an exceptional program by the VSO.

“The VSO’s second Orchestra Series Concert is a great mixture of popular classical favorites for orchestra,” states Kopp. “An exceptional program played by verve and style by our own orchestra – this is an evening of music any music lover won’t want to miss!”

For more information, call (956) 661-1615 or visit

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