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Pascal Rogé Returns to North Carolina Symphony, Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Posted: August 31, 2011
  
The North Carolina Symphony welcomes back to the Triangle one of its favorite and most generous collaborators when world-renowned pianist Pascal Rogé joins Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the Symphony for a program of lighthearted masterworks.

“Rogé Plays Poulenc & Mozart” takes place in Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall, in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. The performances continue at Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Sunday, Oct. 2. All three concerts begin at 8:00 p.m.

Rogé last appeared with the North Carolina Symphony in December 2009, performing with his wife Ami free of charge as a gift to the Symphony at a moment when the organization was working to save money.

“My profession is not a profession,” he told Raleigh News & Observer writer Rob Christensen at the time. “It’s being on stage doing what I like. It’s a pleasure. Of course you have to make a living. But ideally, concerts are about love of the music and love for the audience. It’s nice to be able, for once, to do a concert for the real reason.”

His generosity is partly responsible for the Symphony’s firmer financial position today, allowing Rogé to return, paid this time, for a playful concert program to delight Triangle concertgoers.

“Obviously this concert has a French flavor to it,” says Grant Llewellyn. “As Pascal said when he was here, there is no profound French music. And this is a good example of it. The program is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek.”

The concert opens with Haydn’s “La Poule,” or “The Hen,” a humorous entry from the composer’s beloved “Paris” Symphonies noted for the sound of chickens evoked by the woodwind section. Rogé then joins the Symphony for a pair of solo works, beginning with Poulenc’s Piano Concerto in C-sharp, with its cheerful references to Stephen Foster’s “Old Folks at Home,” the Can-Can and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” among other familiar melodies.

A Paris native, Rogé is particularly noted for his handling of French music, having performed it in almost every major concert hall in the world. He is one of the world’s most distinguished recording artists and won two Gramophone Awards, a Grand Prix du Disque and an Edison Award for his interpretations of the Ravel and Saint-Saëns concerti.

Yet he’s not stopping with Poulenc. Rogé will also perform Mozart’s Concert-Rondo in A Major, a work almost lost to history until its faithful recreation by a trio of Mozart scholars in the 1960s. The joyous piece of music shows off Mozart’s carefree state of mind in his first days in Vienna, the most prosperous years of his career.

The concert comes to a lively close with the Symphony performing Carmen composer Georges Bizet’s celebrated First Symphony, written when he was only 17. The bubbly opening theme, soaring melodies of the second movement and bold and riveting Finale offer listeners one of the most varied and engaging scores in the symphonic repertoire, a marvel of teenage composition to rival the early works of Mozart or Mendelssohn.

Regular tickets to the Duke Medicine Classical Series Raleigh performances of “Rogé Plays Poulenc & Mozart” on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and Chapel Hill Series performance on Sunday, Oct. 2 range from $33 to $63, with $30 tickets for seniors and $10 tickets for students.

It is the first program in the Symphony’s five-concert miniseries “Piano Icons.” The miniseries, made up of concerts from the larger Duke Medicine Classical Series Raleigh, showcases six world-class soloists as they perform the breakthrough works of music’s most accomplished pianist-composers.

Rogé is followed in the miniseries by noted Beethoven interpreter Ignat Solzhenitsyn, presenting Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 on Oct. 27-29. Visit www.ncsymphony.org for this and other opportunities to save. “Piano Icons” is presented in partnership with Fidelity Investments.

Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh. Memorial Hall is located on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, at 208 E. Cameron Ave.

Beyond the Stage

Pre-concert talks and “Meet the Artist” events are held before Symphony concerts across the state. These engaging conversations offer a unique perspective on the evening’s featured composers, the chance to ask questions and hear the inside story on what to listen for.

For “Rogé Plays Poulenc & Mozart,” Catherine Brand of WUNC 91.5 FM will host “Meet the Artists” in the Meymandi Concert Hall lobby on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Tom Koch of North Carolina State University will present a pre-concert talk in the Meymandi Concert Hall lobby on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:00 p.m., and Dr. Letita Glozer of UNC-Chapel Hill will present a pre-concert talk at UNC’s Gerard Hall on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7:00 p.m.


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