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Rogue Valley Symphony to perform audience favorites

Dynamic young cellist Elinor Frey will play Elgar's Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in E minor with the Rogue Valley Symphony in a series of concerts also featuring "audience choice" selections.

Hailed as an "impeccable cellist" by Montreal's La Presse, Frey is an active recitalist, chamber musician, and advocate of new music.

Now making her debut as soloist with the orchestra, Frey first performed in the Rogue Valley as a member of Quartetto Gelato.

Currently a doctoral candidate in music at McGill University in Montreal, Frey earned a master's in music from the Juilliard School in 2005, and received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan in 2001.

English composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) conducted the premiere of his cello concerto in 1919. Now considered a cornerstone of the cello repertoire, the Romantic concerto has been recorded by Pablo Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich and Yo-Yo Ma. Completed at the end of World War I, Elgar's concerto is a lamentation of the anguish he felt about the ravages of war.

Three of the four pieces on the program will be favorite pieces selected by last season's concert-goers for this "audience choice" series.

"The 2007-2008 audience was given an opportunity to vote by multiple choice," said Debra Harris, box office manager for RVSO. "The choices came from our music director, Arthur Shaw, from feedback over the years. We had an insert in one of our programs last season."

The orchestra will perform the spirited "incidental" music once composed for a French playwright, "L'Arlesienne, Suite No. 2," by Georges Bizet; "The Moldau" from Ma Vlast, Bedrich Smetana's tribute to his homeland; and Symphony No. 8 in B minor, "Unfinished," by Franz Schubert.

Pat Daly will present a free pre-concert talk one hour before each performance.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 South Central Ave., Medford; 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at the Grants Pass High School Performing Arts Center, 830 N.E. Ninth St., Grants Pass; and 8 p.m. Monday, March 2, at the Music Recital Hall of Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Medford ticket prices are $26 and $33; Grants Pass tickets are $23 and $30; Ashland tickets are $33 and $40.

Student tickets are $5 at each venue.

For tickets, call the box office at 552-6398, open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Music Building of Southern Oregon University.

See rvsymphony.org for the orchestra's 41st season.

Cellist Elinor Frey returns to Southern Oregon for a performance with the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra. - Elinor Frey