The Grand Rapids Symphony’s next Crowe Horwath Rising Stars concert presents a powerful evening highlighting the musical pairing of two longtime friends: English composer Philip Sawyers and Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director David Lockington. Lockington will trade his baton for the bow as he performs the Michigan premiere of Philip Sawyers’ “Cello Concerto.” Sawyers guest conducts this program that also includes music of Elgar and Haydn. Two performances will be presented, Thursday, Jan. 3, 7:00 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 4, 8:00 p.m. at St. Cecilia Music Center.
Lockington said the performance pairing is a dream come true. “As teenagers we played little things that we wrote for each other and now as adults we have this opportunity that I’m absolutely thrilled about.”
Sawyers’ “Cello Concerto” is characteristic of the composer’s mid-century atonal style, which has been revered by audiences and critics all over the world. Listeners can expect a concerto that is full of melodic ideas, and lots of emotionally charged moments.
Sawyers describes the work as “…a dark hued first movement complete with cadenza for the soloist, a slow movement with a yearning main melody but with a rather dramatic middle section, and a finale with lots of bustling semiquavers and dramatic exchanges between the soloist and the orchestra.”
“There’s a great rigor and compositional discipline that I really love about the work,” said Lockington. “I don’t take it lightly, it’s a real privilege to be able to play it.”
“Working with David Lockington is a joy,” said Sawyers. “He is a fantastic musician and he just gets what my music is about. It is an almost rounding of a circle as we used to play cello and piano pieces when we were youngsters, so doing this later in life is really very special.”
The concert also includes performances of Elgar’s “Serenade for Strings” and Haydn’s Symphony No. 82, better known as “The Bear.”
Both the Thursday and Friday night performances feature orchestral music in an intimate concert hall, where the conductor and guest artists will provide insights about the music from the stage. The Thursday night “Thursdays@7” performance is a one-hour version of the full Friday night program and offers an informal post-concert Talkback conversation with Lockington and Sawyers.
Tickets are $18 for the one-hour Thursadays@7 concert, $26-$34 for Friday, and can be purchased at the Symphony office, weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616/454-9451, Ext. 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 800/982-2787, online at www.grsymphony.org, or in person at Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee. Tickets are available at St. Cecilia Music Center beginning one hour prior to the concert (including Student Passport $5 tickets.)
About Philip Sawyers
Sawyers spent 25 years as a violinist in the Royal Opera House Orchestra. He has also played with the London Symphony Orchestra, the English National Opera Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and was a violin coach for the Kent County Youth Orchestra. Sawyers currently works as a freelance violinist, teacher, adjudicator, and examiner for the Associated Board of the Royals Schools of Music.
About David Lockington
The 2012-2013 Season marks David Lockington’s 14th season as music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Mr. Lockington began his career as principal cellist with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cambridge, he came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Yale University, where he received his master's degree in cello performance and studied conducting with Otto Werner Mueller. He was a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and served as assistant principal cellist for three years with the Denver Symphony Orchestra before turning to conducting.
About the Grand Rapids Symphony
The Grammy-nominated Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Led by Music Director David Lockington, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented each year, touching the lives of some 170,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony sponsors the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses, and also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit www.grsymphony.org.
These concerts are made possible with support from the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts