The Shoals Symphony opens concert season this month

The Shoals Symphony will start the concert season Oct.14 in Norton Auditorium.

The Shoals Symphony at UNA will be opening the 2012-2013 season with “Music & the Musician Extraordinaire” Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. in Norton Auditorium, featuring renowned guest pianist Yakov Kasman, Silver Medalist in the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, according to UNA’s website.

Viljar Weimann, music director/conductor of the symphony, said the title “Music & the Musician Extraordinaire” refers to the absolute best. It is “a concert not to be missed,” Weimann said. People coming to the concert should anticipate exceptional, powerful playing, he said.

The concert will feature Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64, and Kasman playing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” Op. 43, according to UNA’s website. Tchaikovsky had the gift of taking the audience places with music, Weimann said. Each of the four movements has numerous magnificent melodies, and the sheer volume the orchestra is going to produce should be extraordinary,” he said.

Weimann has known Kasman for about 10 years and said Kasman’s playing is top-notch with special clarity and fast finger speed during runs.

In addition to “Music & the Musician Extraordinaire,” the 2012-2013 season is comprised of three more concerts — including a concert Dec. 9 that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Shoals Symphony.

A brand new symphony, composed by Florence native and international composer and conductor Roger Briggs, has been commissioned for the Celebration Concert.

“It is a huge honor, joy and privilege to give a world premiere of that symphony,” Weimann said.

The Celebration Concert also includes Berlioz’s “Le Corsaire” Overture, Op. 21; Leoncavallo’s “Prologo” from “Pagliacci;” Puccini’s “Si mi chiamano Mimi” from “La Boheme” and “O mio babbino caro” from “Gianni Schicchi.”

“A Family Concert” will be held on March 10 at 2 p.m. that features Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” Op. 32. The concert will also consist of Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” and Berlin’s “A Symphonic Portrait.”

May 4 at 7:30 p.m., a “Choral Extravaganza!” has been scheduled to close the season; it will involve Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor “Unfinished” and Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

Soprano Tiffany Bostic-Brown, voice lecturer in the Department of Music & Theatre, will be singing with her husband in both the “Celebration Concert” and the “Choral Extravaganza!” Bostic-Brown said she enjoys being able to communicate emotion and share with audience members through music.

“Everybody can find something to relate to out of any piece of music,” she said.

Bostic-Brown is “known for her ‘sweet and ethereal voice,’” according to UNA’s website. Before a performance, she does a lot of deep breathing and tells herself that she trusts her technique, she said.

Being nervous maintains the humble side of being a performer, Bostic-Brown said. Nerves prevent performers from thinking that they are “greater than the art itself.”

Students make up about 50 to 60 percent of the symphony, depending on the concert, Weimann said. Jennifer Hager, a violin player and English major, is now in her fifth year playing in the symphony.

“My favorite part is the feeling of being in something so important, both to the community and to me personally,” Hager said. “The concerts are an amazing part of it, too. They are the pinnacle of what we do as a symphony orchestra. To be able to give the community something they can appreciate and enjoy is such a good feeling.”

Tickets are available at the door, priced $5 for students and $15 for adults. Concerts should be about an hour and a half long, and are all held in Norton Auditorium. More information can be found at