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SFA Symphony Orchestra concert to feature music by Saint-Saëns

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Symphony Orchestra at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform works by Jean Sibelius, Antonín Dvo?ák and Camille Saint-Saëns when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

 

Conducted by Dr. Gregory Grabowski, director of orchestral activities for the SFA School of Music, the Symphony Orchestra’s centerpiece in the program will be Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor featuring SFA music faculty member Dr. Evgeni Rachev, cello.

 

“This is a classic cello concerto in the canon,” Grabowski said. “It is an exciting piece for the orchestra to play and for the audience to hear. On top of that, it is shows off the amazing talents of Evgeni Raychev, who is easily one of the best cellists I have worked with.”

 

The concert opens with Sibelius’ “Valse Triste,” which Grabowski describes as “a wonderful mix of somberness, and the gaiety of a waltz.”

 

“This piece particularly resonates with me because of our current state within the pandemic,” he said. “So often we feel the drudgery of everyday life in a way we never felt a year ago. We do our best to find joy and lightheartedness in the blessings we do have, and we are often uplifted, though only momentarily, as we are reminded of the challenges we still face.”

 

Dvo?ák’s “Notturno” is a string only piece that will feature graduate conducting student Matthew Warren of Bakersfield, California.

 

“This piece is one of the hidden gems of Dvo?ák’s music,” Grabowski said. “It was originally from a string quartet that was rejected, but Dvo?ák never let go of the slow movement and rearranged it for string orchestra and titled it ‘Notturno.’”

 

The concert will be open to a limited in-person audience; it will not be livestreamed. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602. The performance will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, on the SFA Symphony Orchestra YouTube page.

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