Rockford Symphony concludes season April 26

Staff Report

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) presents the final concert in the 2013/14 ComEd Classics Series, “Love of Homeland,” featuring the Mendelssohn Chorale at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 26, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford.

Antonìn Dvorák’s deep affection for his native Bohemia led him to write the tone poem “My Homeland.” His inspiration was Bedrich Smetana, who had created a sense of Czech national pride through works, including a tone poem creating a vivid depiction of the Vltava River (Moldau), from its twin spring sources in the Bohemian Forest to its majestic flow through the city of Prague. Ernst von Dohnányi, though Hungarian by birth, celebrated his adopted home in the U.S.A. by writing his rousing American Rhapsody. But for sheer drama and color, it’s hard to match Serge Prokofiev’s electrifying score for the 1938 movie Alexander Nevsky, conceived to boost the morale of Soviet Russians worried about the threat of invasion by Nazi Germany.

The performance also will feature mezzo-soprano Karen Brunssen. Brunssen’s singing career has spanned more than 30 years, including solo appearances with opera companies in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and many more. Recent engagements include performing Bach’s Cantata 94 at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, a European tour performing Verdi’s Requiem in Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland, and Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra.

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

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 85 professional musicians who perform 17 concerts per year — including classics, pops and ballet — for an estimated annual audience of 30,000. The RSO was named the 2007 Orchestra of the Year for Illinois.

From the April 23-29, 2014, issue

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