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Reno Phil begins ‘profound’ year
by Cortney Maddock
Jan 07, 2011 | 993 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Fadil Berisha - Pianist Terrence Wilson will be the guest soloist for the Reno Philharmonic’s Simply Profound performance being held Sunday and Tuesday.
Courtesy Photo/Fadil Berisha - Pianist Terrence Wilson will be the guest soloist for the Reno Philharmonic’s Simply Profound performance being held Sunday and Tuesday.
It is not the beginning of a new season for the Reno Philharmonic, but Sunday marks its first performance of the new year. Music director and conductor Laura Jackson hopes the performance brings insight, reflection and warmth to its listeners.

“This particular concert is a concert of very introspective, spiritual pieces,” Jackson said. “All three of the pieces on the program are pieces that draw elements from chants, the chants of monks, so they’re drawing on ancient scales and modes that make up the chant music.

“Each of the three composers takes these modes and makes them sound distinct and fresh and new,” Jackson added.

Titled Simply Profound and featuring pianist Terrence Wilson, the performance brings together the works of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Maurice Ravel and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Pieces include “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten” by Pärt, “Concerto in G Major” by Ravel and “Symphony No. 5 in D Major” by Vaughan Williams. Simply Profound will be performed at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We start with an Estonian composer named Pärt,” Jackson said. “It is an utterly simple piece that just envelopes the listeners in warm sound with strings. And all those strings are doing are playing scales at different speeds.

“The second piece is a piano concerto,” Jackson continued. “This piece starts out completely different in mood. It is kind of whimsical and jazzy, and then the second movement of the three-movement concerto taps into this deeply moving and beautiful moving music that is spun out with this child-like melody.

“The last piece is a symphony that is really pastoral,” Jackson concluded. “It makes you see green hills and lovely sunshine. It is like the Pärt, it has this warm sound. It has this peaceful, beautiful sound but what is cool about it, it has these turbulent underpinnings.”

In picking the three pieces for the Simply Profound performance, Jackson said each piece contributes to an insightful and refreshing start that comes with a new year.

“It can be a new beginning, sort of palate

cleansing,” Jackson said. “It is a concert of beautiful, kind of thought-provoking music. After the holiday hoopla, I enjoy being in a place with this music in a mediative, centering place. This is all very calming and a new beginning.”

Soloist Wilson will showcase his piano skills during “Concerto in G Major.” Wilson, a Juilliard graduate, is an accomplished musician and has appeared with many national and international ensembles, including the orchestras in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He also has performed with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Minas Gerais in Brazil, to name a few.

“I know Terrance from my days with the Atlanta symphony,” Jackson said. “He is just a brilliant, brilliant pianist who is a very thoughtful musician. He is also a very lovely person who is a joy to make music with. I think the orchestra and him will have wonderful music together.”

Jackson said that because of Wilson’s amazing musical ability she believes the Reno Philharmonic’s musicians and Wilson will come together to create a conversation of music notes.

“The piece that he is playing, it has these very virtuosic pieces for the woodwinds,” Jackson said. “The orchestra has very showy pieces to play. It will be playful, the piece is playful, and I think that there will be a very fun dialogue between Terrence and the orchestra.”

In keeping with the theme of Simply Profound, Jackson said she hopes people come to the performance because of the beautiful music.

“This music feeds one’s soul,” Jackson said. “It is a way to experience beauty and to be touched by it and whenever you bring a group together for that, it really is a profound experience.

“There is a sort of magic that happens with a live performance,” Jackson added. “It can only happen when everyone is there. When the orchestra is there and the audience is there, it enriches our solos to perform this music and to share it with people.”

Jackson said the three composers showcased in Simply Profound have really created masterpieces with minimalistic structures.

“I find it so amazing when a composer can create a masterpiece with very few elements,” Jackson said. “And that is what is happening with all three pieces of this performance. They are creating these masterpieces with almost nothing. You don’t need a lot of flash, it is the essence and core of these pieces.

“(‘Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten’) was written in 1980, Pärt was born in 1935, he was fascinated by the sound of church bells,” Jackson added. “He started writing this very tonal, harmonious music. It is something that people tend to respond to on a first listening.

“I felt like I could share a composer that maybe people haven’t heard of but I also felt confident,” Jackson added. “I don’t think Pärt is an acquired taste. It’s a pleasant thing. Then you get this perky, sassy Ravel with this gorgeous movement. This is a performance I would love to sit through.”

Ticket prices start at $28 with discounts available to seniors. Students with a valid student ID can come early for “rush” seating one hour before the performance for $8. Join Jackson prior to each performance for Inside the Music. Both Sunday’s and Tuesday’s performances take place at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts located at 100 S. Virginia St. in Reno. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling 686-6600.

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