Durrenberger will perform award-winning composer George Gershwin’s most famous work, “Rhapsody in Blue.” Durrenberger has performed orchestral piano with the SSO on previous occasions, but this will be his first concerto performance with this ensemble.
“I’m extremely excited to be making my first solo appearance with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra,” said Durrenberger, who has performed throughout the world in such diverse locales as the Taipei National Concert Hall and the Cairo Opera House. “I’ve performed this piece many times in the past, but to do it outside as one of the first performers on the new stage in Veteran’s Park is a real thrill.”
Gershwin wrote “Rhapsody in Blue” in 1924, marking a musical landmark as one of the first works that fused classical orchestral music with jazz idioms. Before his death in 1937, Gershwin composed hundreds of works, many of which remain recognizable today. None, however, has proven as timeless as “Rhapsody in Blue.”
“I’m especially looking forward to collaborating with Peter Stafford Wilson (SSO music director), who has done a wonderful job with the symphony,” Durrenberger said. “It’s just the perfect summer outdoor festival piece.”
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1943 and performed its first complete concert in 1944 at Central Methodist Church in Springfield. The SSO now presents more than 90 events each year, including a six-concert subscription series, small ensemble visits to area schools, Concerts for Young People, the Springfield Youth Symphony and Springfield Youth String Ensemble, free outreach performances and two fund-raisers. The orchestra plays several concerts each summer as part of the Summer Arts Festival, which was created in 1967 to provide community activities headlined by local arts organizations during their annual summer offseason.
Durrenberger has been teaching a variety of music and piano classes at Wittenberg since 1999. He has earned top prizes in such major national and international competitions as the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music Competitions, the Los Angeles Etude Musical Club Piano Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Piano Competition and the National Music Teachers Association National Piano Competition.
Durrenberger, who earned a bachelor of music from Oberlin College and a master's and doctorate of musical arts with honors from the University of Southern California School of Music, traveled to the Far East in 2004 as he presented a series of master classes at major universities and conservatories in Taipei, Shanghai, Shenyang and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
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