MSO to perform 'Scheherazade'
Patrons of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be drawn back to ancient Middle Eastern and Indian lands as "Scheherazade – A Fantasy in Music" hits The Maryland Theatre stage Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13.
The symphonic suite composed in 1888 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is based on "One Thousand and One Nights," also known as "Arabian Nights," with movements featuring "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship," "The Kalandar Prince," "The Young Prince and the Young Princess," and "Festival at Baghdad – The Sea; The Ship Breaks against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman."
“Scheherazade is a stunning orchestral masterpiece. It's very dazzling,” said Beverly Butts, MSO's principal clarinetist. “It's always an audience pleaser, and an absolute showpiece for the entire orchestra.”
Butts, of Hershey, Pa., said there are solos for many of the musicians within the piece.
“Most everyone gets a big solo of some sort,” she said. “It's a very colorful story, very romantic. People will recognize themes and tunes.”
The sea theme, presented under the direction of Elizabeth Schulze, is almost certain to enter the minds of listeners.
“You can really use your imagination to get a picture in your mind's eye about what the music is evoking emotionally,” she said. “And there is a love theme. I can't imagine anyone wouldn't love it. It's always an audience pleaser, really awesome.”
Ukrainian guest artist Vadym Kholodenko, 2013 gold medalist in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will demonstrate his dynamic and technical skill with a performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, B Flat Minor, Op. 23.
“It is probably one of Tchaikovsky's most popular compositions, although what's not to like about any Tchaikovsky?” Butts said. “But it is probably one of the best-known concertos.”
Like Scheherazade, the concerto features tunes that likely will be familiar to the audience.
“They have probably heard it before. It's a wonderful piece that will showcase the soloist," she said. "It's another stunning work of the Romantic time period, and absolutely gorgeous.”
Butts, who hails from Sinking Spring, Pa., near Reading, Pa., has been with the MSO for more than 35 years. She began playing clarinet in elementary school continued through high school.
“I really loved learning all I could and playing every opportunity I had,” she said.
She earned an undergraduate degree in music education at Lebanon Valley College and a Master's degree in clarinet performance at Michigan State University and did doctoral studies in clarinet performance at New York University.
In addition to playing with the MSO, Butts is principal clarinet with York Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Reading Symphony Orchestra, and Shippensburg Festival Orchestra.
For now, she looks forward to the Scheherazade event.
“I know people who come to the concert will love everything about it,” she said. “It's going to be a stunning concert all around."
Top photo: Vadym Kholodenko, 2013 gold medalist in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will demonstrate his dynamic and technical skill with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, B Flat Minor, Op. 23, with The Maryland Symphony Orchestra on Saturday and Sunday. (Submitted photo)