TOPEKA -- Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011/12 season of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. Music Director John Strickler has put together a seven-concert series featuring a wide variety of music including traditional “classical” fare, five world-class guest artists including two Topeka natives, and a program of classic film scores. New subscribers who purchase at least three concerts receive 50% off the regular subscription price. Season ticket subscribers who purchase their tickets prior to Oct. 8 will receive free tickets to the Topeka Jazz Workshop concert featuring young jazz great Eldar on Oct. 9.
The season opens October 1 with Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular Violin Concerto with Ivan Zenaty as soloist. “Ivan is a consummate artist, and it is a thrill to welcome him back to Topeka,” Strickler said. “We performed this concerto last season in Biloxi, and it was absolutely hair-raising!” The program also includes the beautiful Sixth Symphony of Antonin Dvorak. “While it’s not as famous as his ‘New World’ Symphony, it’s every bit as good and is one of my favorites.”
The October 29th concert will feature what in Strickler’s words is “perhaps the greatest symphony of all time - Beethoven’s 5th. We last played it 10 years ago - just 2 weeks after the attacks of September 11. Along with Benjamin Britten’s ‘Sinfonia da Requiem’ and the spiritual ‘Rainbow Body’ by Christopher Theofanidis, this program serves as a sort of memorial tribute for the victims of that disastrous day.”
Wednesday, December 7 is the date for the annual Capitol Federal Holiday Concert. This year the featured artist will be Topeka native Jeff Kready, who currently is touring as Tony in the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot.” Kready, a Washburn University and Topeka Civic Theater alum, has performed in Broadway plays such as Sunday in the Park with George and Les Miserables. In Les Miserables Kready played Babet and understudied the role of Jean Valjean.
On January 14 the orchestra will spice things up with a program of music by Latin composers and music based on Spanish dance themes. “I’ve had this program in the
back of my head for a long time, and it seems the perfect antidote for the post-holiday blues,” Strickler commented. “We’ll open with the fiery ‘Capriccio espagnole’ by Rimsky-Korsakov and conclude with Ravel’s famous ‘Bolero.’” The program will also feature the winner of the annual Youth Talent Auditions.
Guitarist Nicholas Ciraldo makes his first appearance in Topeka as soloist for “Concerto Antico” by Richard Harvey on February 11. “Nick is a fantastic guitarist, and I’m delighted to introduce him to the Topeka audience with this wonderful concerto,” Strickler said. “I was immediately captivated the first time I heard it.” Mozart’s brilliant 35th Symphony “Haffner” and the delightful “Mother Goose Suite” by Ravel complete this program.
“Cinema Classics” brings to the stage great music from some of the best films of all time on March 10. Soprano Lillian Sengpiehl, another Topeka native, will make her TSO debut singing memorable tunes from Hollywood blockbusters. Sengpiehl has sung such roles as Micaela in Carmen with the Wichita Grand Opera and Musetta in LaBoheme with Union Avenue Opera Theater in St. Louis. The St. Louis Dispatch said of Ms. Sengpiehl, “She wins the hearts of her audiences with a passionate devotion in every role she performs.”
The season concludes on April 14 with the lush 2nd Symphony by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Strickler commented: “This is probably the most well-known of Sibelius’s seven symphonies, and it’s the perfect way to end the season. And it is indeed a pleasure to again welcome Julius Kim as our soloist for the witty 2nd Piano Concerto by Shostakovich.”
All concerts will be held at 7:30 in White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus. Concert goers can create their own season package by selecting as few as three concerts from the entire seven-concert offerings. A Flex Pass good for any combination of four admissions is also available. New subscribers can take advantage of a special half-price promotion. Single tickets for all concerts go on sale September 1.
To order tickets or request a brochure, contact the Symphony office at 785-232-2032 or tso@TopekaSymphony.org. Information is also available at the Symphony website: TopekaSymphony.org.
Topeka Symphony is sponsored in part by Washburn University.