North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn welcomes pianist Peter Serkin to North Carolina next month for a concert program of top-flight repertoire and Ravel's "Bolero."
The concerts take place tonight and Saturday, Oct. 5-6 at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh and on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All three performances begin at 8:00 p.m.
Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubenstein, Bolero is Ravel's best-known work. It has been widely used in everything from movie soundtracks to the accompanying score for a 2011 flash mob in Copenhagen. When it premiered at the Paris Opera in 1928, it became an instant sensation thanks to its evocative Spanish flavor and steadily increasing intensity-characteristics that have kept it among the most eagerly awaited live concert experiences for classical music audiences whenever it is scheduled.
Also featured in this concert is Peter Serkin's solo performance of Bartók's Third Piano Concerto.
"Serkin is one of the most important pianists of our day," says Llewellyn, "and this work has an important North Carolina story. Bartók completed it out in the mountains in Asheville when he was dying from tuberculosis. It was his last significant work, and we'll hear North Carolina birdsong as he experienced it from his sanatorium window."
Serkin will also play Stravinsky's Capriccio, a little-known work that the composer wrote for himself, to be played with orchestras on tour. Also on the program is Debussy's La plus que lente, a glorious, unusual gem of a piece orchestrated by Debussy himself, as well as Dvo?ák's Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66.