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Majkut and Rogue Valley symphony vow 'the best yet'

The Rogue Valley Symphony has dynamic programs planned for its 52nd season, one music director Martin Majkut says will be his best ever.

“It has been a wonderful journey where every musical investment has met with the affection and appreciation by our truly fantastic audiences. The music community of this valley is something that other music directors can only dream of,” Majkut said in a press release.

Majkut, now in his 10th year at the helm, recently revealed the symphony’s 2019-20 season, which includes a special concert on New Year’s Eve, as well as the traditional six Masterworks concerts. Majkut has planned what he says is his best season yet filled with “exceptionally talented female soloists representing a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds.” RVS will also bring two new pieces to life through co-commissions.

The season will open on the weekend of Sept. 27-29, with rising star cellist Sujari Britt and Edward Elgar’s “Cello Concerto” as well as Mily Balakirev’s “Islamey” and Igor Stravinsky’s “Petrushka.”

The second series will run from Oct. 18-20, and solely features American works. Renowned violinist Elena Urioste will be featured on Samuel Barber’s violin concerto and a new orchestration of American composer Christopher Rogerson’s “Of Simple Grace.” This concert will also include Charles Griffes’ “The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan” and George Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess: Symphonic Picture.”

The third Masterworks series launches Nov. 15-17 and features Curtis Institute faculty member and horn soloist Jennifer Montone on Richard Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 2.” Other works on this concert will include Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod” and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4.”

In celebration of Majkut’s 10th season, a special New Year’s Eve concert will be given. The evening will include a spectacular Viennese style concert featuring the waltzes of Johann Strauss. Francis Poulenc’s “Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra,” with soloists Joel Fan and Christine Eggert, will be the special work. Lucky patrons will be able to enjoy ringing in the New Year on stage following the concert with Majkut and hors d’oeuvres, dancing and champagne. Tickets prices for this festive evening range from $50 to $150, from the concert only to partying on stage.

Masterworks 4 concerts on Jan. 17-19, 2020, will bring pianist Angela Cheng to the Rogue Valley for Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”. The concert will also include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ‘Symphony No. 36 “Linz,” as well as Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn.”

February’s Masterworks 5 concerts on Feb. 21-23 will be a celebration of the Chinese New Year with violinist Nancy Zhou as the soloist for He Zhanhao and Chen Gang’s “The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto.” Zhou is the winner of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.

Majkut has also programmed the only two symphonies — Nos. 1 and 2 — by Beethoven that the RVS has not performed under his direction.

The RVS Masterworks series will finish its sixth set of concerts on April 17- 19. The second commission of the season, Drew Hemenger’s “Ozymandias,” for tenor soloist, chorus and orchestra, will be presented and will be the debut of the Rogue Valley Symphony Chorus. Gustav’s Holst’s “The Planets,” including a captivating film by Adrian Wyard, will close the concert and season with a bang.

RVS also is continuing its education programs — Link Up, which provides the Phoenix-Talent School District with weekly music classes for third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students; Classical Coaches, which provides small group instruction at the high school and middle school level for burgeoning musicians by RVS members; and Connecting with the Classics, which provides free tickets to families in Josephine and Jackson counties.

For more information or to purchase season or individual tickets, see rvsymphony.org or call the RVS Box Office at 541-708-6400.

Rogue Valley music director Martin Majkut. Photo courtesy of Christopher Briscoe