The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

October 7, 2012

Violinist will launch symphony's season

JOHNSTOWN — Patrons may want to be in their seats early so they don’t miss a single note of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening concert.

The curtain goes up on the 2012-13 season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

The concert, titled “Music, Our Heart and Soul,” begins with a lively composition by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez.

Maestro Istvan Jaray, symphony conductor, called Marquez’ “Danzon No. 2” exhilarating.

“This particular piece lasts nearly 10 minutes, and it will have people out of their seats because of the spirited rumba rhythms and a lot of percussion,” Jaray said.

Jaray also is pleased with the concert’s theme because it reflects how important music is to everyone.

“As important as water and sun are to one’s body, music is just as vital to the soul,” he said.

Jaray called the opening program one of the more challenging he has presented to the orchestra.

“This concert is unique because all three pieces are rarely heard,” Jaray said.

He is delighted to have Romanian-born Lenuta Ciulei perform Wieniawski’s romantic “Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor.”

“This particular violin concerto probably hasn’t been heard by our audience for well over 15 years,” Jaray said. “We are delighted to welcome Lenuta Ciulei to our concert stage.”

Acclaimed in 22 countries on four continents, Ciulei began playing violin at the age of 5. She started her career at the age of 9, appearing live on Romanian National TV.

Her distinctive and imaginative style comes from a combination of violinistic traditions: The esteemed artists and pedagogues George Enescu, David Oistrach and Eugene Ysaye.

She studied with Stefan Gheorghiu, Andre Gertler, Raphael Druian and Ruggiero Ricci.

She has been awarded the 1994 Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Fellowship Solo Recitalist Award and, in 1996, received the cultural order “Rio Grande” by the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil.

She has performed in front of the U.N. Great Assembly at U.N. Palais in Geneva, at the Bartok Memorial House in Budapest, the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and in Madrid for the Royal Spanish family.

Jaray said he is thrilled to offer Mahler’s “Symphony

No. 1 in D Major, Titan,” which will conclude the concert.

It’s a work that has cost the conductor and the musicians some sleep. They have been putting in some late nights in rehearsals to master the lengthy composition.

“Mahler is a postromantic composer who has a lot to say,” Jaray said.

“This is an inspirational piece that is 54 minutes long and suits the autumn season because Mahler has all the musical color, emotions and pleasing tones.”

Brooke Welsh, JSO executive director, called the 84th season a turning point for the symphony.

“I am anticipating an exceptional season that will showcase our musicians,” she said.

The JSO recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Opera Festival and next year will mark Jaray’s 30th anniversary as conductor of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.

“Our orchestra, chorus and youth orchestra truly are assets to the community,” Welsh said.

Subscription prices for the symphony’s seven-concert season begin at $185 a person. Various discount packages are available for seniors, families and students.

Jaray said buying a series subscription is one of the best ways to support and sustain the orchestra.

“There is always a chance that people with season subscriptions can’t make one or two concerts during the season, but we would encourage people to give them (tickets) to friends so they, too, can enjoy a wonderful performance,” Jaray said.

Another option he suggested would be to return the tickets to the Pasquerilla box office to be given away.

“They would give the tickets to some deserving students, young couples or retirees,” he said.

“Music should be heard, and we always enjoy filling all the seats.”

Premiere

What: Opening concert for Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets: $10 for students, $35 for adults.

Information: 535-6738 or 269-7200.

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