The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Returns to New England Public Radio

Seven programs of electrifying, festive, smashing, passionate and genius-filled music come to the weekend airwaves starting on May 26, as New England Public Radio continues its decades-long tradition of broadcasts of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Join maestro Kevin Rhodes, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and an impressive roster of instrumental and vocal soloists for world-class music making – from right in your backyard. The broadcasts can be heard, with one exception, on Sunday afternoons starting at 1:00 on WFCR, and will feature conversations on each selection between Kevin Rhodes and New England Public Radio music director John Montanari.

Three unique pianists will be heard in virtuosic 20th century concertos. On the season-opening concert, the pensive, probing Peter Serkin solos in Béla Bartók’s valedictory Concerto No. 3. On the June 2 broadcast, American pianist Ralph Votapek (Kevin Rhodes’s teacher!) celebrates the 50th anniversary of his victory in the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with the work he played on that occasion, Sergey Prokofiev’s ultra-exciting Concerto No. 3. And Sergei Rachmanoff’s rarely-heard Concerto No. 4 will have a strong case made for it by powerhouse Russian pianist Alexander Ghindin on the June 23 broadcast.

Violinist Caroline Goulding, one of America’s most promising young classical soloists, joins the SSO for Mendelssohn’s dazzling Concerto in E minor in the June 16 broadcast. An unusual solo contingent comes to the front of the stage in the June 9 broadcast – the SSO’s five-man percussion section, each with his own arsenal of instruments, for American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Rituals.” Another formidable quintet, this time consisting of five talented American opera soloists, convenes for a program of operatic passion, love, murder and mayhem in our broadcast of Saturday, June 29 at 3:30. And the massed voices of the Springfield Symphony Chorus, directed by Nikki Stoia, will be featured on the June 30 broadcast in one of the greatest of all choral works, Mozart’s legendary “Requiem.”

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is one of a pair of American composers to be featured in the broadcasts. The other, long-time Harvard professor Walter Piston will be represented by his lyric and approachable Symphony No. 4 on June 23. And the standard symphonic repertoire will be upheld by performances of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 (May 26), Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (June 2), Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” (June 9), Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony (June 15) and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (June 29).

“What Kevin and the Springfield Symphony are doing together really merits the time and attention of every local classical fan,” says NEPR’s John Montanari. “I can’t urge strongly enough that you check out their inspired and exciting music-making.”

Broadcast Schedule: 

Sunday, May 26, 1:00 p.m.: “Opening Night.” Franz Liszt: Festklänge (“Festive Sounds”). Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3, with Peter Serkin, piano. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1

Sunday, June 2, 1:00 p.m.: “Electifying Russian Music.” Alexander Borodin: Overture to Prince Igor. Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3, with Ralph Votapek, piano. Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, “Little Russian.”

Sunday, June 9, 1:00 p.m.: “Scheherazade.” Edvard Grieg: Music from Peer Gynt. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Rituals for Five Percussionists and Orchestra, with SSO percussionists Nathan Lassell, Robert McEwan, Nicola Cannizzaro, Jeffrey Irving & David West. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade.

Sunday, June 16, 1:00 p.m.: “Mendelssohn & Mozart.” Johann Sebastian Bach: Air from Suite No. 3.   Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, with Caroline Goulding, violin. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.:

Sunday, June 23, 1:00 p.m.: “Gershwin & Rachmaninoff.” George Gershwin: An American in Paris. Walter Piston: Symphony No. 4. Sergey Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 4, with Alexander Ghindin, piano.

Saturday, June 29, 3:30 p.m. (following WFCR’s Lyric Opera of Chicago broadcast of Verdi’s Rigoletto): “Passion, Love, Murder & Mayhem – It’s Opera.” Sopranos Mary Wilson & Stacey Rishoi, tenor Eric Ashcraft and bass Gustav Andreasson join Maestro Rhodes and the SSO for arias, duets and ensembles from Tannhäuser, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La gioconda, Carmen, Faust, Pacifico del Sud, Madama Butterfly, La forza del destino, La traviata, Don Carlo, Mefistofele, Pagliacci & Der Rosenkavalier.

Sunday, June 30, 1:00 p.m.: “Mozart & Beethoven.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem, with Monica Yunus, Stacey Rishoi, Eric Ashcraft & Gustav Andreasson, vocal soloists, Springfield Symphony Chorus, Nikki Stoia, director. Beethoven: Symphony No. 5.


For additional information, contact:

Vanessa Cerillo, Marketing and Communications Director