Long Beach Symphony to Celebrate Veteran's Day With An All-American Classical Concert


Image courtesy of Long Beach Symphony.

The Long Beach Symphony will celebrate Veteran's Day with a program of 20th Century American music, led by guest conductor Edward Cumming, on Saturday, November 14 at 8:00PM in the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

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Cumming made his debut at the Long Beach Symphony last May with a performance of works by Mendelssohn, David and Beethoven described by one reviewer as "spot-on," according to the release. He was invited back this season to bring his distinct touch to a program that includes Bernstein, Gershwin and works by two living American composers, Lowell Liebermann and Frank Ticheli.

The concert opens with Leonard Bernstein's short and lively Candide Overture followed by Liebermann's Concerto for flute and orchestra featuring Heather Clark, the symphony's principal flutist and one of the region's most revered players.

"Lowell's music is unusual in that it sounds fresh and new, but at heart he is a conservative, who likes to write music that his audiences will want to hear more than once," said Cumming in a statement. "Liebermann is a melodist at heart, and the tunes throughout his Flute concerto are singable... he's that good."

Following the Concerto and intermission, living composer and Louisiana-native Frank Ticheli's moving violin passage, Radiant Voices, will fill the theater. Originally written in 1993 as a positive response to the Los Angeles riots of 1992, the piece is percussive and brassy, and represents a reminder to find the brightness in discouragement.

The concert comes to an end with Gershwin's An American in Paris, an urban life and jazz-influenced symphonic poem the composer garnered from inspiration found on a trip to Paris. The 1928 work blurs the boundaries between the realms of classical and pop genres.

"It's the only piece I know that is actually scored for car horns," said Cumming in a statement. "How often do you get to hear saxophones play in an orchestra?"

"Not only are Gershwin and Bernstein popular composers with our audience, they always feature outstanding talents within our orchestra," said Symphony Executive Director, Kelly Ruggirello, in a statement.

Ticket holders are also invited to attend a pre-concert talk at 7:00PM hosted by Cumming, Clark and Ticheli, who will also host a post-concert, town-hall-style conversation. Lobby music will be provided by musicians from the Bob Cole Conservatory University String Quartet. 

An experienced instructor, during his week-long residence in Long Beach, Cumming will teach a masterclass for LBUSD high school students. Cumming is Director of Orchestral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the Hartt School. He served as Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for nine years.

"At a time when many orchestras are struggling to grow their audiences, Dr. Cumming distinguishes himself by connecting closely with his audiences, regularly attracting hundreds of people to arrive early for his pre-concert talks," stated the Symphony's release.

The Symphony's Classical Concert Series is sponsored by Lexus. Tickets start at $20, with a 50 percent off discount to U.S. Military Veterans for the November 14 and December 19 concerts on VetTix.org in honor of Veteran’s Day.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 562.436.3203 or click here.

The Long Beach Performing Arts Center is located at 300 East Ocean Boulevard.

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