Conductor Dennis Simons promises symphony-goers "a very happy season" with the theme he has chosen of "The Dance: A Celebration of Ten Years."
This season marks his 10th year with the Minot Symphony Orchestra and he remains enthusiastic. For the opening concert on Saturday, "Irresistible," he begins his programming with a piece he has wanted to present for a long time. This is one of the iconic pieces in the cello repertoire, Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto op. 85 in E minor.
Of guest soloist, cellist Inbal Segev, he said, "I had to search around for a wonderful cellist, and I'm delighted she's coming. She'll do a superb job for us."
Submitted Photo - - Inbal Segev will perform as a guest soloist with the Minot Symphony Orchestra. She will be featured in Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto op. 85 in E minor.
Segev is an Israeli-American who began playing at age 5, and was invited by Isaac Stern to come to America to study at age 16. She earned a bachelor's degree from The Juilliard School and a Master's degree from Yale, and has performed around the world.
Segev will be working with students of first cellist, Erik Anderson, during her visit to Minot. She performs on a cello made by Francesco Ruggeri in 1673.
"I'm so pleased we can attract these performers, that the symphony is in a position to invite (them) and bring another dimension to our concerts," Simons said. "Particularly for this, as it has such a special meaning. It was written at the end of the First World War, and Elgar put such emotion into it. If you're British, there's a feeling you almost can't put into words about it."
The Minot Symphony Orchestra opens its 2011-12 season "The Dance: Celebration of 10 years" with conductor Dennis Simons Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in MSU's Ann Nicole Nelson Hall with a selection of songs titled "Irresistible."
Prices for the concert vary according to seat selection from $5 for children under 12, $10 for students ages 12 to 18, $15 or $20 for seniors and $20 or $25 for adults. Season tickets will be available at the concert or by calling 858-4228, the number also used to make reservations. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
Minot Symphony Orchestra first cellist Erik Anderson will also be presenting the pre-concert lecture in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the concert. This presentation will include an inside look at the symphony program for that evening, and what to listen for during the performance. Admission is free with a season ticket or $5 per person, $10 per family without season tickets. Admission is free for Minot State University faculty, staff and students.
"When I thought about the balance needed with the Elgar, and of course the theme of The Dance, I came up with the 'Polonaise' from Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin," Simons said. "That is a very arresting work, and starts with a great fanfare, one of the highlights of Onegin. It's grand -- everything needed in a dance."
Following the intermission, Simons wanted something to further complement the Elgar, and went from E minor to C major, with Schubert's Symphony No. 9, known as "The Great C Major."
"I've done it before, but I just had to do it again," he said. "I knew I had to do it in the first concert of the season, because this is the one with the longest lead time, so we could have a lot of rehearsals.
"Some musicians of his day were unwilling to take it on -- in fact the first time it was performed was 14 years after it was written, and it was Mendelssohn who (conducted) it," he said. "One of my musicians came up to me the other day and said, 'I'm having such a love affair with this piece.'
"That's the reason we do this, isn't it?" he mused. "Without musicians, music just sits on the page. In performance, things done properly just bubble along. I remember being a page-turner for another conductor who was doing this C Major, and it was so wonderful, I just kept thinking, 'Please don't let me run out of pages,' I wanted it to just go on and on.
"You know the feeling -- this just might be the night you remember the rest of your life," he said.