File photo Image: OSO

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra celebrates the French romantics

Their fourth concert in the Chase Wines Masterwork Series will come to Kelowna Feb. 15

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra returns for a fourth concert in the Chase Wines Masterworks series, Joie de Vivre!

The concert will be celebrating the music and inspiration of the French romantics, including Chopin, Ravel and Saint-Saëns.

Pianist Jaeden Izik-Dzurko from Salmon Arm is featured as the guest artist, presented by Judy and Graham Burns. Izik-Dzurko first played with the OSO when he was just 13-years-old, performing Carnival of the Animals for eight school programs. Many hours of practising later, Izik-Dzurko is now a student at the Juilliard School in New York City. He will be performing two concertos with: Chopin’s Andante spianato et grande polonaise brilliante as well as The Romantic Concerto by Ernst Schneider. Ernst is an Okanagan-based composer living in Penticton. The performance of The Romantic Concerto in Vernon will be recorded for future release.

If that weren’t enough, Joie de Vivre! also marks the annual side-by-side performance with the The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra.

RELATED: OSO celebrates Mozart melodies in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

The OSYO have been preparing their part in Ravel’s La Valse since early December. This month, they come together with the OSO musicians for mentorship, collaboration and final preparations. Through sectionals and full rehearsals, they learn at the speed of lightning. The end result will be 120 musicians on stage, simultaneously sharing their talent, joy and exuberance.

La Valse was composed in 1919. Ravel was inspired by the waltzes of the Strauss family and wanted to create his own tribute a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz, with which mingled in his mind, the idea of the fantastic whirl of destiny. Europe had just been through World War I and there was no longer the tolerance for frivolous dancing. Ravel’s La Valse, then is both an honouring of the bygone waltz, evoking glittering ballrooms with brightly lit chandeliers and swirling couples, as well as the murky unrest of an uncertain future. Ravel is widely considered to be one of the greatest orchestrators of all time. His combinations of instruments are unparalleled and make La Valse a tour-de-force for orchestra.

RELATED: OSO honours Remembrance Day weekend with Requiem

Also on the program is Ravel’s wonderful collection of miniatures Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite). Filled with the charm and innocence of well-loved fairy tales, these perfect gems of orchestration will show a different, gentler side of the master of orchestral colour.

“These performances will be remarkable not only for our talent on stage, but also for our material. Maurice Ravel was most famous for his Bolero. The irony is that he only wrote Bolero as an exercise in how to sustain a crescendo over ten minutes. He was surprised to see how popular this piece became. If your only experience with Ravel is through Bolero, don’t miss Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) and La Valse which show off his masterful creativity,”Rosemary Thomson, OSO music director said.

The OSO will perform at the Kelowna Community Theatre, Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. They will be at the Cleland Theatre in Penticton, Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. As well as at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Sunday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

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