Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891–1953) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His best-known works include the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet, and Peter and the Wolf. Prokofiev began his Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major as a concertino in 1915, but soon abandoned it to work on his opera The Gambler. He returned to the concerto in the summer of 1917, and it premiered on October 18, 1923, at the Paris Opera with violinist Marcel Darrieux and the Paris Opera Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. Stravinsky made his debut as conductor at the same concert.
Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six-also known as The Group of Six-and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. Counted among the modernist composers, his compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality. Le boeuf sur le toit (The Ox on the Roof: The Nothing-Doing Bar) is a surrealist ballet made scored by Milhaud which was in turn strongly influenced by Brazilian popular music. The title is that of an old Brazilian tango, one of nearly 30 Brazilian tunes (choros) quoted in the composition.The piece was originally to have been the score of a silent Charlie Chaplin film.
Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures, and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music, and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire. Ravel originally wrote Ma mère l'oye (Mother Goose) as a piano duet for the Godebski children, Mimi and Jean, ages 6 and 7. The piece was transcribed for solo piano by Ravel's friend Jacques Charlot the same year as it was published (1910. Both piano versions bear the subtitle "cinq pièces enfantines" (five children's pieces).
Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the longest-running, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 175,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit www.columbussymphony.com.
Pictured: Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Photo Credit: Chip Willis