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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Varga Leads Diverse Program at MSO

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Guest conductor Gilbert Varga leads pianist Kirill Gerstein and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a wide range of musical flavors. It starts off with Turn the Key, a contemporary work by American composer Steven Mackey, who often draws rock and jazz influences into his music. Turn the Key is dissonant, intricate and rhythmic, depending on the full resources of a symphony orchestra as it builds toward a mood of unabashed celebration.

Following is the third piano concerto composed by Beethoven—but since it was the first to be published, it remains known as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. It is constructed like a sonata, with two themes for the orchestra—the first theme conveys great joy, while the second is more lyrical. Beethoven debuted the concerto in Vienna in April 1800.

The concert finale is Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, which is acknowledged as his most creative composition. Pictures draws on Russian musical themes and is best known through Maurice Ravel's orchestra arrangement.

The concert will be held at the Marcus Center's Uihlein Hall Friday, April 15, at 11:15 a.m. and Saturday, April 16, at 8 p.m.