The Shoals Symphony at UNA has been sharing its classical sound with the Shoals for 30 years.
To mark the anniversary they wanted to make the 2012-13 season special.
“We are really excited about this season because the season is basically a gift back to the community,” said Carole Maynard, events coordinator for the University of North Alabama’s Department of Music and Theatre and a member of the symphony board.
“We are really excited about the entire season. It’s really one that’s for everyone. It’s like our gift back to the community for supporting us for 30 years.”
Maynard said community support for the symphony has been crucial. They rely on the community for sponsors, support and ticket sales.
“Having a symphony of this size, ability and talent in a community like the Shoals, is a wonderful gift because otherwise we’d have to go to Huntsville, Nashville or Birmingham to be exposed to these wonderful works,” Maynard said. “We can go right down the street to UNA and hear the best of current and future musicians.”
The celebration kicks off Sunday at Norton Auditorium, with The Shoals Symphony conducted by Viljar Weimann performing Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5 in E minor” and Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”
Weimann called “Symphony No. 5” “one of the great romantic pieces.” He said it wasn’t initially celebrated in the critical circles when it premiered in 1888, but has grown into a highly popular and important piece of classical music.
“We are very happy to play that grandiose piece,” Weimann said.
“Symphony No. 5” is about 50 minutes long. Weimann said “Rhapsody” is a series of 27 variations on the Paganini Theme and is about 25 minutes long.
For “Rhapsody,” the symphony will have award-winning pianist Yakov Kasman perform the piano solo.
“Kasman is a native Russian pianist who I’ve known for over 10 years now, and he’s a fantastic piano player,” Weimann said. “He travels all around the world, and gives concerts everywhere. ... We are very fortunate for him to agree to come here. It is going to be one of the high points of the orchestra’s history.”
Kasman won the silver medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
For the second performance, which is the symphony’s Celebration Concert, Florence-native Roger Briggs will conduct his “Symphony No. 2, The Shoals,” which was commissioned by Shoals Symphony.
“We are really looking forward to presenting the world premiere of “The Shoals,” Maynard said.
Along with that piece, the Shoals Symphony will be playing Berlioz’s “Le Corsaire, Overture,” Leoncavallo’s “Prologo” and Puccini’s “Si mi chiamano Mimi” and “O mio babbino caro.”
The Celebration Concert is Sunday, Dec. 9.
The third concert, A Family Concert, is March 10, and will feature pieces by Britten, Gershwin, Webber and Berlin.
The season ends with Choral Extravaganza on May 4, with pieces by Schubert and Orff.
Season tickets are available at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., Florence, and online at una.edu/shoals-symphony until Sunday. Those tickets are $50 for adults and $20 for students.
Individual tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and are available in advance at the arts center and at the door.
All performances start at 2 p.m. at Norton Auditorium on the UNA campus.
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.