Experience an evening of beautiful works by Romantic-era composers, as the Asheville Symphony presents its April Masterworks concert, “The Passion of Chopin” Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium under the director of ASO Music Director Daniel Meyer. Guest pianist Soyeon Kate Lee joins the symphony for Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
“All three composers on our April program had a firm grasp on the art of choosing the perfect instruments for the right musical moments,” says Meyer. “Debussy’s Petite Suite is one of the many French works originally written for piano that take advantage of the full palette of the orchestra. Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto, in the hands of a rising virtuoso like Soyeon Kate Lee, is a perfect example of the beauty that can exist when the solo piano perfectly intertwines with the orchestra. Franck’s Symphony in D minor stands as a richly woven tapestry of emotion and musical ideas, at one turn deeply rigorous in its construction, yet also delectably fanciful in its saturated hues of Romantic-era color.”
The evening opens with Debussy’s delightful Petite Suite, which was inspired by his patron—also his mistress—singer Marie-Blance Vasnier. The suite was originally written as a piano duet and later arranged for orchestra by Debussy’s colleague Henri Büsser. Büsser’s orchestration prominently features the woodwinds alongside harp and strings. Themes within the piece’s four movements evoke playful revelry and wistful longing, nostalgia and sparkle.
Next is Chopin’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring guest solo pianist Soyeon Kate Lee. First prize winner of the 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition and the 2004 Concert Artist Guild International Competition, Korean-American pianist, Lee has been lauded by The New York Times as a pianist with "a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style," and by The Washington Post for her "stunning command of the keyboard.” A graduate of the Juilliard School, Ms. Lee was awarded every prize given to a pianist at Juilliard, including the William Petschek Piano Debut Award at Lincoln Center and the Arthur Rubinstein Award.
The final work on the program is César Franck’s emotional Symphony in D minor—filled with yearning and capped by a triumphant final movement. Upon its premiere in 1889, the symphony sparked controversy for blending German and French symphonic styles in the highly nationalist French musical landscape following the Franco-Prussian war. It bucked other symphonic trends of the time by comprising three rather than four movements, and featuring an English horn solo. Yet while its reception in France was rocky, it swiftly gained popularity in the rest of Europe and the United States.
Single tickets for all concerts are $22-62, depending on seating section (reduced youth pricing is available). Single tickets and season ticket packages can be purchased online at ashevillesymphony.org, by phone at 828-254-7046, or in person at the U.S. Cellular Center box office at 87 Haywood Street.
THE PASSION OF CHOPIN
April 22, 2017 • 8 p.m.
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Daniel Meyer, conductor
Soyeon Kate Lee, piano
Debussy Petite Suite Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2
Franck Symphony in D minor