Violinist Lee Chin performs with the RSO Jan. 11

Staff Report

Rockford Symphony Orchestra’s (RSO) first concert of 2014 will take place Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford.

The concert is the third in this season’s ComEd Classics Series and features violinist Lee Chin. Chin has distinguished herself as one of the finest violinists of her generation, having performed to critical acclaim in more than 20 countries on five continents, from Carnegie Hall to Osaka Symphony Hall.

As part of RSO’s season of “Music that Ignites Your Passion,” the January concert is titled “Legendary Loves.” Some love stories are so strong, so compelling that they become legends. Greek mythology tells us that kings and princes from around the world sought the hand of Helen of Troy. The beautiful Helen — La belle Helène — also inspired Jacques Offenbach to write an operetta telling her story. The Butterfly Lovers is sometimes called the Chinese Romeo and Juliet. Although one of the most famous works of modern Chinese music, this beautiful violin concerto, inspired by the legend, is rarely heard in this country.

Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde is often cited for its far-reaching influence on musical style, especially film music. Though based on a legend dating back to the 12th century, its musical language expresses yearnings and deep emotions that continue to resonate with contemporary listeners.

Wagner’s own concert version includes the opera’s Prelude and its final aria, known as the Liebestod (“love death”). And what love affair is more legendary than the “pair of star-cross’d lovers” from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? Few musical depictions rise to the level of drama, pathos and beauty found in Tchaikovsky’s famed Overture-fantasy by that name.

Tickets for this concert are available online at or by calling the RSO Box Office at (815) 965-0049. Concert ticket prices range from $20 to $58. Student tickets are $7.

The RSO is beginning its 79th year of offering vibrant music experiences that enlighten, educate and entertain. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Steven Larsen, the RSO is a leading arts organization in the Rockford region and the third-largest symphony orchestra in the state of Illinois. The RSO is composed of 65 professional musicians who perform 15 performances this year — including classics, pops, concerts for youth and ballet — for an estimated annual audience of 30,000. The RSO was named the 2007 Orchestra of the Year for Illinois.

From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue

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