Principal guest conductor John Morris Russell will return to the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra with an evening of familiar and festive Russian works at 8 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island.
Russell will be joined by 2008 Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra International Piano Competition winner Ran Dank, who will play Sergei Rachmaninoff's well known and loved "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini." During the second half of the concert, the orchestra will play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's colorful and popular "Scheherazade Suite." Dmitri Shostakovich's "Festive Overture" will open the evening.
Dank was born in Israel in 1982 and started piano lessons at age 7. He earned his bachelor's degree from Tel Aviv University and his master's from the Juilliard School. He is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The Rachmaninoff "Rhapsody" is one of the many pieces that the composer wrote for his own use. He described it as "a long piece about 20 or 25 minutes ... the size of a piano concerto." The structure is clear and concise and allows the listener to easily follow the progression from one variation to the next.
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The music of "Scheherazade" is colorful and pictorial, but Rimsky-Korsakov did not consider it programmatic. He wanted to give the impression of an Oriental narrative of some numerous fairy tale wonders. He described the movements as "hints to direct the hearer's fancy along the path which my own fancy had traveled." The suite consists of separate unconnected episodes and pictures from "The Arabian Nights."
Concert tickets are $20, $30 and $40. To purchase tickets, call 84-842-2055 or go to www.hhso.org.