Sunday, March 01, 2009

Symphonic Interpretation Beyond The Baton


The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra offers opportunity to ‘Discover Beethoven’
with conductor Nicholas McGegan at the Touhill on March 15


ST. LOUIS (February 23, 2009) – The most visible aspect of a conductor’s job – gesturing to lead an orchestral performance – is arguably his least important. Preparing for a live performance requires the conductor study and interpret a piece according to his personal vision, then communicate his thoughts to the musicians during hours of rehearsal. Only then can it be properly conveyed to the listening audience. During a traditional symphonic performance, all the interpretation is left to the music. For one afternoon at the Touhill, world-class conductor Nicholas McGegan will take listeners beyond the baton, expressing his take on a great symphony by a great composer in a multimedia presentation. In Discover Beethoven, guest conductor McGegan reveals the wonders of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, with slide show, discussion, and musical excerpts. Then McGegan leads the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) in a full performance of the composer’s dramatic evocation of the natural world. Discover Beethoven will take place in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets for are $35, $25, and $15 and are available now by calling 314.516.4949, or at www.touhill.org. This is the final performance in the Symphony Sundays series, sponsored by Centene Corporation and welcomed by KWMU.

Pastoral is an exceptionally appropriate piece for an in-depth explanation from a composer’s perspective. An inherently descriptive symphony, Beethoven utilized the distinct personalities of musical instruments to mimic the sounds of a country setting, complete with a flowing brook, violent thunderstorm, and bird calls. Whether it’s your first, or one hundred and first listening, McGegan’s insight into the piece is sure to bring new understanding and modern relevance to the two hundred year-old piece.

McGegan, originally from England and educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, is known throughout the world for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance. Through more than twenty years as its music director, McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading period performance band in America - and at the forefront of the 'historical' movement worldwide thanks to notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, the London Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Gottingen where he has been artistic director since 1991.

The Touhill is pleased to offer the E3! program in conjunction with Discover Beethoven. The Touhill’s new E3! program, Explore – Experience – Engage, offers the occasion for patrons to delve further into the artistic realm and deepen appreciation of the performance. As Discover Beethoven contains an extraordinarily educational component with composer insight, the Explore and Experience portions of this program are combined. After patrons Experience the symphony, they can Engage with other audience members while noshing on light hors d’oeuvres and wine, to share their take on what they just experienced. Tickets for the E3! program are just an additional $5.

Discover Beethoven with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35, $25, and $15, and are available now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org; or by phone at 314.516.4949; and toll-free at 866.516.4949. The Touhill’s Ticket Office is located at One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. All St. Louis area students receive a 10% discount on two tickets with their I.D. Group and senior discounts are also available.

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on the north campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, just 10 minutes from Clayton. (Exit # 240 from I-70). There is ample free parking and the UMSL North Campus MetroLink Station is just steps from the Touhill’s Main Entrance.

Now in its sixth season of presenting the finest in the performing arts to the St. Louis region, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center opened its doors in September 2003. The $52 million facility designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, features the 1,625-seat Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall and the 350-seat E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater. The not-for-profit Center is the jewel of the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus and is the first impetus and focal point for creating an arts district for students at the University.

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