This weekend the KSO will depart from our usual venues in downtown Knoxville and hit the road. Tonight we're heading to the Greater Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend and on Sunday we will be performing in Richlands, Virginia. Both concerts feature a mixture of pops and light classical music. The program we will play in Virginia is unusual in that it features several pieces of Chinese music, including the first performance of the Yellow River Piano Concerto by a Chinese pianist with an American orchestra.
We rehearsed for both concerts yesterday. The Chinese pieces are in Chinese. Of course, the notes are the same in any language, but the titles and written musical instructions are all in Chinese. Jim asked us to pull out the Yellow River Concerto and the orchestra gave him a collective blank stare. He had to describe the first few measures to make sure that we all pulled out the same piece. German was my old nemesis. I am always schnelling when I ought to be langsaming and vice versa. Compared to Chinese, though, I'm positively fluent in German. Its a good thing that my stand partner Eunsoon can read a bit of Chinese. Or at least pretend to read Chinese to play a good joke on me: "Really? It says to hold the bow in your teeth there?!"
Tonight's concert at the Greater Smoky Mountains Heritage Center features two soloists from the orchestra. Principal Trombonist Sam Chen will play an arrangement of Gershwin's Someone to Watch Over Me. I love Sam's interpretation of this piece. I could listen to him for hours and not get tired of it. Also featured will be principal clarinetist Gary Sperl performing the first movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto on a basset clarinet. The basset clarinet has a wider range than the typical clarinet which allows the player to perform passages in the octave that Mozart intended. It also has a different timbre. As usual, Gary sounds amazing.
Tonight's concert requires tickets. More information can be found here. Sunday's performance in Southwest Virginia is free. More information about that concert can be found here.