Rockford Symphony kicks off Beethoven Festival

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) presents its Beethoven Festival May 6-12 at the beautiful Coronado Performing Arts Center.

This RSO premier series of concerts features renowned pianist Alon Goldstein, an internationally-acclaimed artist with a special affinity for Beethoven’s piano music. Goldstein will perform all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos in three concerts.

This weeklong festival will journey through the life of Beethoven, giving a profile of the composer’s personality and a glimpse into his soul. Through music and conversation, enhanced by visual displays, Goldstein and Steven Larsen will explore Beethoven’s personal tragedies and triumphs, within the context of the political and cultural climate of the times.

In addition to the concerts, the RSO will host several educational events—many free of charge— including lectures, a movie night and a Sound Bites discussion, as part of the regular lunchtime series.

“A festival of this magnitude is virtually unheard of for an orchestra and community our size,” said RSO Executive Director Brian Ritter. “This groundbreaking event will be so much more than a concert, and will truly allow our community to get an inside look into a man who is considered one of the most significant composers of all time.”

Performances include the following:

“Beethoven Revealed” at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 6, featuring Overture to Creatures of Prometheus, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Piano Concerto No. 1;

“Beethoven Betrayed” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, featuring Leonore Overture No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 3 and Piano Concerto No. 4; and

“Beethoven Triumphant” at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 12, featuring Incidental Music to Goethe’s Egmont, Op. 84 and Piano Concerto No. 5.

Tickets for the performances are available through the RSO Box Office at (815) 965-0049, or through the Web site at Tickets for the individual concerts are $15-$42. Tickets can be purchased as a package for $30-$60. Group sale rates are also available.

Alon Goldstein

Alon Goldstein is one of the most respected young pianists. Admired for his musical intelligence and warmth of personality, Goldstein has a powerful gift for communication. His extraordinary artistry at the piano has gained him much acclaim throughout the United States and Europe. Goldstein’s sensitive and insightful interpretations have brought him to the fore of his generation.

According to John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune, “(Alon Goldstein’s) stylish and spirited playing treated the music like the fiery improvisation Beethoven must have intended.”

Pre-festival events

Hauskonzert, featuring Alon Goldstein performing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, will be at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 29. Donations are required. Call (815) 965-0049 for information.

A two-part multimedia lecture is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 1, at Riverfront Museum Park Theatre. Light refreshments will be available. The event is free, although reservations are encouraged to (815) 972-2939. The two-part lecture kicks off with RSO Education Director Lorie Langan presenting “The House that Beethoven Built,” which will explore the rise and fall of NeoClassicism and the roots of Romanticism through painting and sculpture that was contemporary to Beethoven. Langan will be followed by RSO Executive Director Brian Ritter with “Beethoven: Betrayed and Triumphant.” Beset by tragedy and disappointment at various times in his life, Beethoven poignantly illustrated these critical moments through written correspondence. Beethoven addressed these seminal times with musical innovation and great leaps forward, transitioning into new musical territory.

A movie night, featuring Immortal Beloved, starring Gary Oldman, will be from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m., Thursday, May 3, at Riverfront Museum Park Theatre. The event is free and includes free popcorn. For reservations, call (815) 972-2939.

A Sound Bites Lunchtime Series event with Steven Larsen and Alon Goldstein is set for noon-1:30 p.m., Friday, May 4, at Brio. The event is free, with reservations to be made to (815) 972-2939.

The Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO) will present a concert featuring the “Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy!” at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 5, at Coronado Theatre. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 students. The annual spring performance honors RSYO Seniors and features the Rock Valley College Concert Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Women’s Choir under the direction of Paul LaPrade. Alon Goldstein, who is performing in the RSO Beethoven Festival, and Kyle Krause, who is the first prize winner of the RSO/Rock Valley College Concerto Competition, will also be featured.

Celebration Sunday Supper is set for 5-7 p.m., Sunday, May 6, at the Coronado Theatre. Cost is $50 per person. For reservations, call (815) 965-0049.

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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