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Monday, August 5, 2013




Contact information:

Julie McDonough, Executive Director

711 N. Main St.

Rockford, IL  61103

Phone: (815) 965-0049      Fax: (815) 965-0642




Rockford Symphony Orchestra single ticket sale announcement!

This music ignites passion – Now it’s time for it to ignite yours!


Rockford, IL – The Rockford Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that single tickets for the 2013/14 season are now on sale.

The season, titled Music that Ignites Your Passion, displays love in its many forms in some of the world’s most beautiful music from classical to big band and movie favorites.
Ticket buyers can select exact seating when purchasing tickets on the RSO website at Tickets are also available for purchase by calling 815-965-0049 or visiting the Coronado Performing Arts Center Box Office at 314 N. Main Street.

The 2013/14 RSO Classics Series will open September 21, 2013, with the return of RSO favorite soprano Kathy Pyeatt. Other accomplished guest artists known for their incredible talents will appear throughout the season, including violinist Lee Chin, and Rockford’s own pianist Jesse Parker. Classical masterpieces include Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, He Zhanhou’s Butterfly Lovers Violin concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, while the Pops series includes Academy Award winning movie favorites and Big Band standards.

“This season can be enjoyed by anyone, from first-time attendees to our longtime subscribers,” Executive Director Julie McDonough said. “Love, whether of the romantic variety, or love of nature or our country, is a theme to which all of us can relate. Music has an innate ability to make us feel things more strong and we really celebrate that this season.”
Subscription packages are still the best value! All subscription packages include savings off single ticket prices. Each subscriber also receives exclusive benefits including reserved seats, flexible ticket exchange, and discounts to area restaurants.  Subscription packages range from $64 to $449. Student subscriptions offer a tremendous value and range from $21 to $63.


Listed below are details for each performance, including music and guest artist information for the RSO’s Classics Series and Pops Series. The RSO website has more information at Additional educational activities and special events throughout the season will be announced at later dates.

ComEd Classics Series

RSO Celebrates Opening Night

Opening night at the RSO is Saturday, September 21, 2013, with a concert featuring soprano Kathy Pyeatt and an early concert time of 6:30 p.m.  

Reznicek: Overture to Donna Diana

Daniel Dorff: The Kiss (after the painting by Klimt)

Gounod: Je veux vivre from Romeo and Juliet

Verdi: Ah, fors’ e lui… Sempre libera from La Traviata

Beethoven: Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin? from Fidelio

Kathy Pyeatt, soprano

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Celebrate the RSO’s new season on Opening Night! Pop the cork on the evening with Emil von Reznicek’s effervescent Donna Diana Overture. Then, welcome RSO favorite Kathy Pyeatt back to the Coronado stage for her exciting rendition of three famous operatic arias that celebrate romantic love: the young Juliet as she enjoys her dream of carefree life before the snares of love entrap her; Violetta, rejecting the ardent offer of Alfredo’s love in favor of the pursuit of pleasure; Leonore, who calls upon the power of love for the strength to rescue her husband from death at a tyrant’s hand. Immerse your senses in Daniel Dorff’s The Kiss, a shimmering musical depiction of Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece painting. Finally, learn the real secret to the riddle behind Edward Elgar’s famous Enigma Variations — it’s a loving musical portrait of Elgar’s closest friends and his beloved wife, Carolyn!
This evening also features the RSO’s first ever Opening Night Gala. Attendees will enjoy cocktails in the lobby before the concert and dining and entertainment following - all at the beautiful Coronado Theatre.
Love of Nature

Pianist and Rockford native Jessie Parker performs with the RSO as the ComEd Classics Series continues on Saturday, November 9, 2013.

Heitzeg: Aqua (Homage to Jacques Cousteau)

d’Indy: Symphony on a French Mountain Air

Jessie Parker, piano

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major (Pastorale)

As long as humankind has made music, it has been inspired by the sights and sounds of nature. Aqua, by Steven Heitzeg, pays tribute to Jacques Cousteau, the French scientist, explorer, and conservationist who devoted his life to studying life beneath the sea. Vincent d’Indy sought inspiration in higher places, found it in the mountains of France, and gave us a charming work for solo piano and orchestra he called Symphony on a French Mountain Air. Ludwig van Beethoven was effusive in his love for nature and how it inspired his music. In his Symphony No. 6, he puts aside the taut drama of the Fifth Symphony and encourages the listener’s imagination with movement titles like “Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country,” “Scene by the brook,” “Happy gathering of country folk”, “Thunderstorm”, and “Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm”.

Legendary Loves

The first concert of 2014 will take place Saturday, January 11, 2014 featuring violinist Lee Chin.

Offenbach: Overture to La belle Helène

He Zhanhao: The Butterfly Lovers Violin concerto

Lee Chin, violin

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juilet, Overture-fantasy
Some love stories are so strong, so compelling that they become legends. Greek mythology tells us that kings and princes from around the world sought the hand of Helen of Troy. The beautiful Helen — La belle Helène — also inspired Jacques Offenbach to write an operetta telling her story. The Butterfly Lovers is sometimes called the Chinese Romeo and Juliet. Although one of the most famous works of modern Chinese music, this beautiful violin concerto, inspired by the legend, is rarely heard in this country. Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde is often cited for its far-reaching influence on musical style, especially film music. Though based on a legend dating back to the 12th century, its musical language expresses yearnings and deep emotions that continue to resonate with contemporary listeners. Wagner’s own concert version includes the opera’s Prelude and its final aria, known as the Liebestod (“love death”). And what love affair is more legendary than the “pair of star-cross’d lovers” from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? Few musical depictions rise to the level of drama, pathos and beauty found in Tchaikovsky’s famed Overture-fantasy by that name.

Tragic Desire

The Classics Series continues on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Brahms: Tragic Overture

Berlioz: Three Pieces from The Damnation of Faust

Schumann: Manfred Overture

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor
The stage is set by Brahms’ somber and majestic Tragic Overture. Hector Berlioz’s epic opera/oratorio, The Damnation of Faust, yields up three orchestral gems demonstrating his mastery of orchestration and storytelling. Lord Byron’s dramatic poem Manfred, possibly inspired by the Faust legend, tells the story of a man tortured by the death of his beloved who seeks relief through the supernatural world. Robert Schumann wrote his version of Manfred even as he sunk into the depths of insanity, tormented by inner voices and hallucinations. In the 1930s, the young Dmitri Shostakovich was the most celebrated composer of the new Soviet Union — until his new opera displeased Joseph Stalin. Faced with the choice of artistic capitulation or death in the Gulags, Shostakovich responded by creating one of the most powerful and moving artistic statements in history, his Symphony No. 5. Even though he called it “A Soviet Artist’s Response to Just Criticism”, it was meant to be a defiant cri du coeur, a testament to individual freedom.
Songs of a Wayfarer

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the ComEd Classics series will feature Gerard Sundberg, baritone, and the RSO’s own principal cello, Michael Beert, and principal viola, Benjamin Weber. 

Mahler: Song of a Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)

Gerard Sundberg, baritone

Sibelius: Pohjola’s Daughter

R. Strauss: Don Quixote

Michael Beert, cello

Benjamin Weber, viola

What greater pain than to love with all your heart, but be rejected? Three composers offer musical answers, starting with Jean Sibelius’ Pohjola’s Daughter, from an ancient story told in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. The pain of rejection was more personal for 24-year-old Gustav Mahler, who poured his youthful distress into a song cycle, Songs of a Wayfarer, parts of which inspired his First Symphony. In Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s novel Don Quixote, an aging Spanish gentleman becomes obsessed with the chivalrous ideals touted in books he has read, and decides to become a knight-errant, defending the helpless, destroying the wicked, and seeking the hand of the beautiful and virtuous Dulcinea, who exists only in his imagination. Richard Strauss, the supreme master of the tone poem, brings “The Knight of the Sad Countenance” to life in his Don Quixote, with the title character played by RSO principal cellist Mike Beert and his sidekick, Sancho Panza, by principal violist Ben Weber.

Love of Homeland

The ComEd Classics Series concludes on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Dvorak: My Homeland

Smentana: Vltava (The Moldau)

Dohnányi: American Rhapsody

Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky

Antonìn Dvořák’s deep affection for his native Bohemia led him to write the tone poem My Homeland. His inspiration was Bedřich Smetana, who had created a sense of Czech national pride through works like the six tone poems in Má Vlast (My Country). Of those six, the most familiar is his vivid depiction of the Vltava River, (Moldau), from its twin spring sources in the Bohemian Forest to its majestic flow through the city of Prague. Ernst von Dohnányi, though Hungarian by birth, celebrated his adopted home in the U.S.A. by writing his rousing American Rhapsody. But for sheer drama and color, it’s hard to match Serge Prokofiev’s electrifying score for the 1938 movie Alexander Nevsky. Conceived to boost the morale of Soviet Russians worried about the threat of invasion by Nazi Germany, the film tells the story of Prince Alexander’s dramatic victory in 1240 over an invading army of Teutonic knights, saving the city of Novgorod and the Russian people.
The RSO Classics Series is graciously sponsored by ComEd. All concerts are held at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. Opening night starts at 6:30 p.m. All remaining Classics concerts start at 7:30 p.m. 

Rockford Health System Pops Series

The Best of Swing with Capitol Quartet

The RSO kicks off the Rockford Health System Pops Series on Saturday, October 12, 2013, with the toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’, high-octane swing program featuring one of the most exciting saxophone quartets performing today. This high-energy program features refreshing arrangements of timeless swing classics, presented with humor and flair!

The RSO will dedicate this first Pops concert of the season to Mr. Jim Lathers, the generous music lover who provided the RSO the $720,000 bequest in April of 2013. His former classmates and family members are invited to attend the performance.
Holiday Pops!

The RSO celebrates the Christmas season on Saturday, December 21, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 22, 2013, at 3 p.m., with its annual Holiday Pops concert at the Coronado. Featuring Pianist Rich Ridenour in his original arrangements of Carol of the Bells, Billy Joel’s Egg Nog Rag, Christmas Time is Here, Nutcracker Rock, and more. Plus, an International Christmas Sing Along! Mr. Ridenour has been described as “a dazzling showman, masterfully musical, wickedly funny and amazingly versatile…” This concert will also feature a special performance from Kantorei, the Singing Boys of Rockford.

Lights, Cameras… The Oscars!

The RSO will conclude the Rockford Health System Pops Series on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Since 1934, many of our most beloved songs have been Oscar winners or come from an Academy Award winning movie. The RSO is joined by two Broadway singers, RSO favorite Nat Chandler along with Teri Dale Hansen, for all the best tunes from Titanic, Aladdin, Rocky, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Chariots of Fire, and many more!

The RSO Pops Series is graciously sponsored by Rockford Health System.  All Saturday concerts are held at the Coronado Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. 

Special Events

The Nutcracker with the Rockford Dance Company

This annual presentation of the popular Nutcracker ballet will be held on Saturday, December 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 3 p.m. Delight in the magic of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, as Clara takes an enchanted journey filled with the beloved melodies and dance that have captivated audiences for more than a century. Featuring the choreography of Rockford Dance Company Artistic Director Matthew Keefe, this year’s performance will feature Rockford native and Rockford Dance Company Alumni April Day who now dances with the Joffery Ballet in Chicago. Combined with the RSO and the local talent of the Rockford Dance Company, this holiday tradition is enjoyable for the whole family.

Symphony Saturdays

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra announces the returns of the four-performance series for families with children ages 5-10 called Symphony Saturdays. Performances will be held on January 11, February 1, March 8, and April 5, 2014 in Kresge Hall at the Riverfront Museum Park located at 711 N. Main St. Each date will offer one performance at 11:30 a.m.

Symphony Saturdays is designed to engage children and their parents in learning about woodwind, percussion, brass, and string instruments. Each performance, presented by RSO musicians, will introduce one of the four instrument families with a demonstration and performance. Afterwards, families can participate in an instrument playground of the instruments represented by the ensembles.

All programs, artists, and prices are subject to change.



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