Missoula Symphony Orchestra Presents Season Finale Concert, “Pictures of Power”
(Missoula, Mont.) With a repertoire fit for a finale, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra will close the 61st season with a grand concert full of life and color as they perform two pieces by Maurice Ravel, “Concerto in G Major” for piano and “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The concerts take place on Saturday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 24, at 3 p.m. in the Dennison Theatre on the University of Montana campus.
Missoula Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Darko Butorac, describes “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as ‘a fantastic piece to end the season.’ It was originally written by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky as a ten-movement piece for piano. His inspiration was the artwork of his friend Viktor Hartmann, an influential artist who died at the young age of 39, leaving behind a legacy of over 400 paintings. The music depicts an imaginary tour of this art collection. “Each of the movements is a tone painting of the actual image,” says Butorac. “For example, the painting ‘The Catacombs’ is depicted by stark chords in the brass, representing the shock of entering deep into the cold burial site transformed into sound; and ‘The Gnome,’ a painting of a little gnome running clumsily with crooked legs, is represented by lurching music with frequent stops and starts. When you read the title of the movement and then hear it, it’s easy to visualize the inspiration,” he says. Maurice Ravel arranged the piece for a full orchestra a few years after Mussorgsky’s composition, and this arrangement is the most commonly performed for orchestras, according to Butorac.
The first half of the concert presents Ravel's masterpiece concerto in G major for piano. “It’s directly influenced by Gershwin's Concerto in F, so the audience can expect a French twist on 1930's Jazz, and some serious pianistic pyrotechnics,” says Butorac. “It’s a Brazilian work, super rhythmic, very world music—the audience is in for a treat.” World-renowned pianist, Katherine Chi, will be joining the orchestra for this piece.
In recognition of the season finale and the featured repertoire, the MSO is also collaborating with the 1st and 5th graders at Lowell School in a community outreach connecting classrooms with music. This outreach program was facilitated by the Spark! Arts Ignite Learning initiative. “The kids will be creating their own ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ which will be on display in the Dennison Theatre lobby over the concert weekend,” said Driscoll. “Darko will be going into their classes to introduce the kids to the music, and their art teacher, Norel Swanson, will be working with them on creating pieces of art. We’re excited to see what the come up with!” he says. According to Driscoll, this is an example of numerous community outreach events the MSO organizes with local schools throughout the year, and a fun way to end the season.
Tickets to “Pictures of Power” are available online at missoulasymphony.org, by phone at 721-3194, or in person at the Symphony office at 320 East Main Street.
Press Release: April 13, 2016
Media Contact: Lucy Beighle (406) 239-3193