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Have you seen the symphony’s latest lineup?

Brandon Ridenour
Brandon Ridenour

Whether your taste in music runs toward Russian, holiday favorites, Broadway tunes or classics from Beethoven and Mozart, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-17 concert season promises to have you covered.

‘Russian Spectacular’ Sept. 17

The season opens Sept. 17 with a “Russian Spectacular” at Biloxi’s Saenger Theatre.

Under the baton of conductor and music director Peter Rubardt, the orchestra will perform Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances,” excerpts from Serge Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Tchaikovsky’s “Marche Slave,” and conclude with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2,” featuring guest artist Natasha Paremski, a Russian-born pianist.

Born in Moscow, Paremski moved to the United States when she was 8 years old and became a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter. She is now based in New York. She received several awards at a young age, including the Gilmore Young Artists prize in 2006 at the age of 18, the Prix Montblanc in 2007 and the Orpheum Stiftung Prize in Switzerland. In September 2010, she received the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year award.

Her first recital album, released in 2011, debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart. A year later, she recorded Tchaikovsky’s first concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Fabien Gabel on the orchestra’s label distributed by Naxos.

Paremski has performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, NAC Orchestra in Ottawa, Nashville Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, among others. She also has toured in Latvia, Benelux, the United Kingdom and Austria and performed with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in Taipei.

Paremski continues to extend her performance activity and range beyond the traditional concert hall. She was featured in a major two-part film for BBC Television on the life and work of Tchaikovsky, shot on location in St. Petersburg, Russia, performing excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and other works. In the winter of 2007, Natasha participated along with Simon Keenlyside and Maxim Vengerov in the filming of “Twin Spirits,” a project starring Sting and Trudie Styler that explores the music and writing of Robert and Clara Schumann, which was released on DVD.

A reception after the season-opening concert will allow the audience to meet the orchestra’s musicians and guest artist.

Other performances this season

▪  Nov. 25, “Holiday Peppermint Pops.” This annual concert is a Mississippi Coast holiday tradition and is a family-oriented program of classics.

▪  Feb. 4, “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” featuring Polish-born guest conductor Mariusz Smolij. The symphony starts 2017 with this concert. The evening’s program will include Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to “Barber of Seville,” Mikhail Glinka’s “Kamarinskaya,” Bedrich Smetana’s Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Smolij is a frequent recording artist for Naxos International. He has been gaining international critical acclaim, including praise from The New York Times for “compelling performances.” Smolij has led more than 100 orchestras in 27 countries on five continents. He is in his 10th year as music director of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in Lafayette, Louisiana, and in his 17th season as music director of the Riverside Symphonia in New Jersey. He is a former artistic director of the Lutoslawski Philharmonic in Wroclaw (Breslau), as well as the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans in Poland.

▪  March 18, “Vivaldi’s Seasons.” The featured guest artist for this concert will be violinist In Mo Yang. Mo will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Samuel Barber’s “Andagio for Stings” and Antonin Dvorak’s “Serenade for Strings.

He is a Korean violinist and the first prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. In March 2015, he earned first prize at the International Violin Competition “Premio Paganini” in Genoa, Italy. Mo also has been recognized as the youngest finalist and for best performance of the contemporary original piece and performance most appreciated by the audience.

▪  April 22, “Trumpet Showcase.” The orchestra features guest trumpeter Brandon Ridenour.

At the age of 20, Ridenour became the youngest member ever to join the Canadian Brass, a position he held for seven years. While with the group, he played in venues around the world, performed on television, recorded 10 albums and received three Juno Award nominations. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Edmonton symphony orchestras and played with leading ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, the Knights, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Other solo performances include the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, and Carnegie Hall, where he most recently appeared in a performance of “Penny Lane” alongside Sting and James Taylor.

Ridenour is the winner of the 2006 International Trumpet Guild solo competition and a recipient of the Morton Gould ASCAP Young Composer Award.

▪  April 27, a concert featuring Mozart’s “Symphony No. 35,” Johann Hummel’s “Trumpet Concerto” and George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess: Symphonic Picture.”

Before each of the four classical concerts, music director Peter Rubardt will host “Words on Music,” a relaxed hour of concert information and personal musical insights by Rubardt and that concert’s guest artist. The free discussion will be at the Gulf Oaks Clubhouse at 527 Front Beach, Ocean Springs, at 7 p.m. the Thursday before each of the classical concerts. The program is repeated at noon on the Friday before each concert at the Great Southern Club atop the Hancock Bank building in downtown Gulfport. Lunch is available for purchase at Great Southern Club at 11:30 a.m. before each discussion.

Times, venues and prices

All concerts, including Holiday Peppermint Pops, begin at 7 p.m. at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi.

Season tickets begin at $175 and individual concert tickets begin at $35, with $20 tickets available for students and military. Student and military tickets for the Nov. 25 Holiday Peppermint Pops concert are $15. Reserved seat season and individual tickets may be purchased at gulfcoastsymphony.net or by visiting the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra office in the Knight Nonprofit Center on Seaway Road in Gulfport or calling 228-896-GCSO (4276).

The symphony also offers Finishing Touches, a dress rehearsal from 2 to 4 p.m. before each of the Saturday evening concerts. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Group rates are available.

Reserved seat season and individual tickets may be purchased online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.net or by visiting the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra office in the Knight Nonprofit Center on Seaway Road in Gulfport or calling (228) 896-GCSO (4276).

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