PEI Symphony returns to the Zion Church for our grand season finale April 12th
On Sunday April 12th the PEISO returns to the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church for the grand finale of our concert season.
Under the leadership of PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro, the PEI Symphony presents “The Passion of Sibelius”, to honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous composer with a performance of his second symphony, along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.
Originally scheduled for the Confederation Centre of the Arts, the PEI Symphony has announced that it has switched the concert to the Zion Presbyterian Church. According to PEISO President Dan Rowswell, the last few years have been challenging financially for the PEISO annual budget, and consequently the board is implementing plans to increase revenues and reduce costs in order to keep live orchestral music alive in Prince Edward Island. The PEISO has produced three concerts at the Zion Church to date, and audiences and the orchestra musicians have responded enthusiastically to the beautiful acoustics, and the intimacy of the musical experience. According to Rowswell, the orchestra also loves performing at the beautifully renovated Homburg Theatre and the PEISO appreciates the generous support of the Confederation Centre management team and staff for this change of venue decision. The Confederation Centre continues to manage ticket sales for this concert.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was a popular Finnish composer of the late Romantic period. Growing up when Finland was seeking independence from Russia, his music was influenced by and then came to help define the Finnish national movement and identify. Initially influenced by Wagner and later by Bruckner and especially Tchaikovsky, he wrote seven symphonies and many other works including the famous ‘Finlandia’ which became the theme of the Finnish Resistance during World War II.
Composed in 1902, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 is arguably his most popular and most frequently recorded. Critics at the time remarked on its skilful orchestration where the “ideas of form are more mature and the violent Slavic gloom is replaced by a more classical touch and by the light of the Mediterranean”. The romantic and optimistic heroism were welcomed by the Finnish public in 1902 during a period of Russian oppression, and the composers’ national fame was secured after the first performance. In 1903 Karl Flodin described the work as:
“An absolute masterpiece, one of the few symphonic creations of our time that point in the same direction as the symphonies of Beethoven.”
One of classical music’s most famous stars, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) lived only thirty five years, but made a profound impact on all forms of Western music. An incredible child prodigy and adult genius, Mozart composed over 600 works including many of the most famous of all time, including his Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”. The year it premiered, 1798 was not a happy time for the great composer, who was in serious financial trouble with the failure of his Don Giovanni opera. Still still in grief over the unexpected death of his infant daughter earlier that year, Mozart was worried about his wife’s health, his own, and his position within Vienna’s elite. Nevertheless, amid all that worry and pain he found the inspiration over a period of only 50 days to compose three incredible masterpieces, his last three symphonies: Numbers 39, 40 and the powerfully joyful No. 41, easily one of the greatest ever.
This concert will be presented at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at 135 Prince Street, at the corner of Grafton Street. Please note, due to the rehearsal schedule for concerts at the church, the PEISO is unable to host a Pre-Concert Talk for this show.
There are many ways to support the PEI Symphony and keep the music playing. The best is simply to buy tickets for each concert or a subscription series for all four. Subscriptions will be available for sale in the concert lobby, and online after the concert. Subscriptions are only $50 for students and children, and $110 for adults and seniors, for all our concerts.
In addition, in April the PEI Symphony is seeking community support through a new crowd sourcing IndiGoGo campaign, appropriately entitled “Play Your Part”.
Finally, for all of us here in PEI living through winter storm after storm, come join our musical celebration of both of these joyful composers. Finnish conductor Simon Parmet described Sibelius’ Second Symphony as:
“A song of praise for summer and the joy of life.”
And so it shall be!
Concert tickets are available at the door, or through the Confederation Centre Boxoffice, $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children. For more information please call 902-892-4333.