Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Acclaimed pianist to join Southeast orchestra

Monday, October 1, 2012
Concert pianist Jack Gibbons will perform at the Gala Season Opener at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9. Submitted photo

The Gala Season Opener will start off the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra season with an acclaimed pianist who has performed in some of the most prestigious performance halls in the country and throughout the world.

Jack Gibbons is a well-known concert pianist and composer from England who has performed in Carnegie Hall, London's Queen Elizabeth and Royal Albert Halls and in countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and Zimbabwe, where he has held seminars to teach young children about music.

Gibbons often performs with major orchestras in the U.S. and Great Britain, such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic.

Director of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra Dr. Sara Edgerton chose to include Gibbons in the season opener because he has performed at Southeast Missouri State University many times for various events and was well received by both the audiences and the students who worked with him.

"He, every summer, has a residency at Oxford University where he does a series of concerts that are always basically sold out," Edgerton said. "He has performed in Carnegie Hall on many occasions, and in fact, just the week before he comes here to play with us he is playing at the Kennedy Center."

Gibbons' repertoire usually includes music from composers like Gershwin, Chopin, J.S. Bach and his own compositions, but for this concert he will perform a piece by Russian composer Rachmaninoff.

"Jack is playing with us, he's performing a piano concerto by the Russian composer Rachmaninoff; his Concerto No. 2, which is one of the most famous piano concertos ever written," Edgerton said. "Because he's playing this concerto, which is by a Russian composer, I thought it would be kind of interesting to have all Russian music on the program."

The concert will begin with the orchestra playing "Overture on Russian Themes" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and then a piece by the more recent Russian composer Khachaturian called "Masquerade Suite."

"So we open with two very colorful pieces by these Russian composers, and then Jack joins us for the Rachmaninoff," Edgerton said. "Russian symphonic music is also really noted for its colorful orchestration, for its lively rhythms and beautiful melodies."

The orchestra has rehearsed for the opening of its 2012-2013 season since the start of the semester and will put the final touches on the program when Gibbons comes for two rehearsals on Oct. 7. Edgerton said that is when the orchestra will line up its interpretation of the piece with Gibbons' interpretation.

Edgerton will explain the music that will be performed in more depth the evening of the concert. Anyone who has purchased a ticket can attend the pre-concert talk.

The concert will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall, and the pre-concert talk will begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets cost $19 or $16 depending on seat location and can be purchased at the River Campus box office or online at Tickets cost $3 for students with a Southeast ID.