(Featured photo: Aaron Kurz.)*
In addition to the popular Gershwin work, the concert at Richardson’s Eisemann Center will ring in the new year with Julie Giroux’ Symphony No. 6 “The Blue Marble” featuring photos taken during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, plus a performance of American composer Frank Ticheli’s Blue Shades
Shades of blue representing Earth and one of Gershwin’s most iconic works are celebrated as the Lone Star Wind Orchestra (LSWO) rings in the new year with Rhapsodies in Blue on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. at the Eisemann Center (2351 Performance Dr, Richardson, TX 75082). Under the direction of LSWO Music Director Eugene Migliaro Corporon, the three-part concert will feature a new multimedia experience of Julie Giroux’s Symphony No. 6 The Blue Marble, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring North Texas native and internationally renowned pianist Aaron Kurz, plus a performance of American composer Frank Ticheli’s work, Blue Shades.
“As we start the new year, we hope this highly stimulating show is a treat for the eyes and ears,” said Corporon. “Our Rhapsodies in Blue concert merges the past and present – from an Earth-inspired new work, to a beloved century-old composition and an American orchestral classic. Through these works and continued outreach, our hope is that the Lone Star Wind Orchestra inspires change through music, and we look forward to impacting the next generation of musicians.”
GERSHWIN’S RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Nearly 100 years after Gershwin composed Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, the LSWO and Dallas’ own lauded pianist Aaron Kurz will perform the classic masterpiece. Known for his charismatic and moving performances, Kurz, who graduated in 2013 from Greenhill School in Addison, has captivated audiences around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Palace of Peace and Harmony in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Kurz’s playing has also garnered acclaim in competitions, winning top prizes in the New York International Piano Competition and Los Angeles International Piano Competition, to name a few. With a belief that artists have an obligation to use their craft to improve the world, he has worked significantly in this capacity, including two years with the Van Cliburn Foundation’s “Cliburn in the Classroom,” a program that teaches classical music principles to children in underprivileged school districts. (See Kurz’s full bio at end of release.)
THE BLUE MARBLE. Already cementing itself as a groundbreaking composition, Giroux’s Symphony No. 6 The Blue Marble – in collaboration with ION Concert Media – is a brand-new and innovative work which will be performed alongside awe-inspiring video and pictorials of Earth taken by Apollo 17 in 1972. Considered among the most reproduced images in history, “Blue Marble” is said to be the first full picture of the planet Earth. Inspired by the image, Giroux’s movement depicts how painstakingly small and vulnerable humanity is, yet celebrates the spirit of Earth in a variety of ways through music.
BLUE SHADES. Frank Ticheli, who graduated from Berkner High School in Richardson and attended SMU, is one of America’s biggest names in composing orchestral, choral, chamber and concert band works. An award-winning composer, he lives in Los Angeles, where he is a Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California. Many of his works – including Blue Shades – are particularly notable and have become standards in concert band repertoire.
General admission tickets to Rhapsodies in Blue are $22 for adults and $12 for seniors/students.Loge box seating is also available for $42 per ticket. To purchase, call 972-744-4650 or go to eisemanncenter.com.
The Lone Star Wind Orchestra is supported by the City of Richardson, Moody Fund for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and TACA.
For more information, go to lswo.com.
ABOUT THE LONE STAR WIND ORCHESTRA
The Lone Star Wind Orchestra is a non-profit arts organization founded in 2006 as a creative collaboration to further the wind orchestra as an artistic medium. The group’s mission is “music changing lives in North Texas and beyond through inspired collaborations, exceptional mentoring of musicians, unforgettable performances, and inclusive community engagement.”
The nonprofit also operates the Lone Star Youth Winds, made up of 60 of the most outstanding woodwind, brass and percussion players in grades 9-12, selected from across North Texas.
The Lone Star Wind Orchestra’s education and outreach programs include the St. Philip’s Percussion Ensemble, an after-school program where children in southern Dallas explore music and technique through the lens of the African Diaspora, and Lone Star Kids, which bring students face to face and behind the scenes with top musicians, composers and conductors. In response to COVID-19, Lone Star Conversations was created to give young people virtual access to leading composers and conductors. Learn more at lswo.com.
ABOUT AARON KURZ
Engaging audiences with his charismatic and moving performances, Aaron Kurz enjoys a burgeoning career. He has captivated audiences across three continents, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Palace of Peace and Harmony in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Kurz’s performances have been lauded, with Belgium’s Le Soir stating, “We’ll remember…the musical journeys of a nuanced Aaron Kurz.”
Kurz’s playing has also garnered acclaim in competitions, winning top prizes in the New York International Piano Competition, Los Angeles International Piano Competition, Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, and World Piano Teachers Association International Piano Competition, among others. An avid performer, he has played extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. In recent years, his playing took him to China, where he had performing and speaking engagements at the Xi’an Conservatory along with an orchestral performance.
After watching classical music videos at the age of 2, Kurz became interested in playing the piano. Soon after, he began his studies with Ethel Fang at the Suzuki Institute, and at age 9, he became a student of Dr. Carol Leone. A year later, Kurz attended the Mozart Festival in Vienna and attended the Bösendorfer International Piano Academy, held at the University of Music. Since then, he has participated in countless festivals, such as the Aspen Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, PianoTexas, and the Gijón International Piano Festival. He is grateful for receiving additional instruction and guidance from many renowned pianists and pedagogues, including Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis, Yoheved Kaplinksy, Julian Martin, John O’Conor, and Earl Wild.
Kurz believes artists have an obligation to use their craft to improve the world, and he has worked significantly in this capacity. Alongside concertizing, Kurz spent two years working for the Van Cliburn Foundation’s “Cliburn in the Classroom,” a program which teaches classical music principles to children in underprivileged school districts. The goal of the program’s interactive seminars – to inspire a love of music in children and help educate the next generation of classical musicians – spoke to him. Through his playing, he hoped to connect with them and provide an experience they could enjoy and benefit from. He has also worked with the Lift Music Foundation, which provide mini grants to help underserved musicians afford the costs of a musical education.
Kurz also wishes to expand the reach of classical music, something he has worked towards in a greater role since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, he has performed in various live-streamed series to connect with greater audiences around the world. He also believes in the importance of understanding the music to better appreciate and enjoy it, and whenever possible, he speaks alongside his programs to help audiences with this goal.
Kurz is currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Jon Nakamatsu and Jeremy Denk, and recently graduated from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Boris Berman. Other previous teachers include Ethel Fang, Carol Leone, Logan Skelton, Alexander Kobrin, Ian Jones and Norma Fisher. Kurz’s own experience encompasses both private and university-sponsored teaching, having taught through Yale and Eastman. In his spare time, he enjoys socializing and watching sports, never missing a Michigan Wolverines football game.
(This Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz courtesy Lone Star Wind Orchestra.)