The Itasca Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Keith Swanson will perform its final concert of the season on Saturday, May 11, 7:30 pm at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids. An Evening with Gershwin and Copland will feature pianist Eric Himy performing Rhapsody in Blue from the original Gershwin manuscript, which is longer by 88 bars.
Also on the program are Aaron Copland’s Variations on Shaker Hymn and selections from the ballet suite Rodeo.
The concert marks Himy’s return to the Reif stage where he performed several years ago. Besides Rhapsody in Blue, he also will give an entertaining presentation, “Gershwin in Paris,” which explores Gershwin’s music and its relationship to classical composers. Himy is one of the more highly regarded interpreters of Gershwin.
His playing has been described by The New York Times as “flawlessly poised, elegant and brilliant.” His compelling artistry has intrigued audiences around the world. The Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande compared him to the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz calling him “a sensual gourmand of sound.” He has played to critical acclaim in the United States, Canada, South America, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Slovenia. Mr. Himy has been heard most notably at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, The Frick Collection, The Phillips Collection, Teatro Amazonas, Salle Cortot and Salle Gaveau in Paris and on NPR “Performance Today.”
The Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program is funded in part by the Blandin Foundation. The concert also is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council through an appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and an appropriation from the State Legislature.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and may be purchased by calling the Reif Center at 218-327-5780 or on line at reifcenter.org.