PEPSI POPS: Picnic in the Park

7:30 PM, Friday, May 11, 2018
Old Trace Park, Ross Barnett Reservoir

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The Rez, picnics and pop tunes make this concert an annual family magnet to be enjoyed by blanket, lawn chair or boat. Our 37th annual Pepsi Pops promises a unique outdoor experience ending with a night sky of fireworks!

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Sponsors

This evening's concert is generously sponsored by:

Brown Bottling Group

With additional support from:

Regions logo

 and

EastGroup Properties

and

BKD LLP CPAs and Advisors

CONCERT IN THE CHAPEL

7:30 PM, Saturday, April 21, 2018
Woodworth Chapel, Tougaloo College

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The richness of Russia’s most famous composers — Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky — are just the ticket for a fulfilling evening of chamber classics, rounded out with a thoughtful palate cleanser by Princeton University’s Irish-born Donnacha Dennehy.

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Sponsors

Lesly Gaynor Murray and Stephen C. Edds

IGOR STRAVINSKY Octet for Winds

DONNACHA DENNEHY Disposable Dissonance

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY String Quartet No. 1 in D major Op. 11

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation EPIC ELEGANCE

7:30 PM, Saturday, March 24, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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Strap yourself in for the finale’s pairing of Brahms’ famous, tuneful Variations on a Theme by Haydn and the soul-rattling thrill of Mahler’s The Titan, bringing the Bravo season to a blockbuster close.

Pre-concert lecture on the Mezzanine level by Dr. Timothy Coker, 6:45-7:15 (free, cash bar available)

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Sponsors

This performance of the Mahler Symphony is made possible by a generous gift from

J. Keith Robbins III, MD

with additional support from:

JOHANNES BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Haydn

GUSTAV MAHLER Symphony No. 1, The Titan

Cirque goes to the Cinema

7:30 PM, Saturday, March 03, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

Aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, strongmen and more add dramatic flair and dimension to favorite soundtrack selections, including John Williams’ music from Star Wars, Harry Potter and others.  An evening for the whole family full of memorable cinematic music from many of your favorite movies, old and new.

Join us for this special fundraiser for MSO.

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Sponsors

 

ALL STRINGS

7:30 PM, Saturday, February 24, 2018
Gertrude C. Ford Center, Millsaps College

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The all-strings program vibrates with promise, amid the shimmering sounds of Grieg’s Holberg Suite’s set of delightful dances and Buccherini’s evocative ode to the bustling streets of nocturnal Madrid.

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EDVARD GRIEG Holberg Suite, Op. 40

LUIGI BOCCHERINI Night Music from the Streets of Madrid

CHRISTOPHER CERRONE High Windows, Concerto for String Orchestra

GUSTAV HOLST St. Paul Suite

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation LOVE’S FOLLY

7:30 PM, Saturday, February 17, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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A gossamer Satie opening, gorgeously amorous music from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and the fantastic yet whimsical finish of Stravinsky’s mischievous and love-besotted puppet Petrouchka, make this evening one to take to heart.

Pre-concert lecture on the Mezzanine level by Dr. Timothy Coker, 6:45-7:15 (free, cash bar available)

Sponsors

 

with additional support from

ERIK SATIE (ARR. DEBUSSY) Gymnopedie No. 1 and No. 3

RICHARD WAGNER Prelude and Love Death from Tristan und Isolde

IGOR STRAVINSKY Petrouchka

STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE

7:30 PM, Saturday, February 03, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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A Tribute to the Ladies of Motown & R&B featuring the Las Vegas based vocal quartet: Radiance Four glamorous singers channel the beloved sounds of girl groups and R&B divas from the 1960s into the 90s, letting loose hits by The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and more! With the full orchestra at play, it’s a snappy evening of Motown favorites.

Sponsors

This evening’s concert is generously sponsored by:

St. Dominic Health Services

Accommodations provided by:

Hilton Jackson

Symphony Lovers Parking provided by:

Parkway Properties, Inc.

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation ELGAR’S ENIGMA

7:30 PM, Saturday, January 27, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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Delight, mystery and beauty ignite the imagination and stimulate the soul in an evening that includes the works of Meridian-born, Pulitzer Prizewinning composer John Luther Adams and of Edward Elgar, whose poignant Enigma Variations has brightened so many national ceremonies.

Pre-concert lecture on the Mezzanine level by Dr. Timothy Coker, 6:45-7:15 (free, cash bar available)

Sponsors

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SERGEI PROKOFIEV Lt. Kije Suite

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS Dark Waves

EDWARD ELGAR Enigma Variations

MOZART BY CANDLELIGHT

7:30 PM, Saturday, January 13, 2018
Belhaven University Center for the Performing Arts

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Candles’ rich glow and Mozart’s rich genius are an unbeatable combination in an enchanting evening that features one of the composer’s most famous overtures and the skillful resonance of Principal Bassoonist Jon Wenberg.

Sponsors

Mr. and Mrs. Emerson B. Robinson, Jr.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Overture to Don Giovanni

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Symphony No. 21, K. 134, in A Major

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Concerto for Bassoon, in Bb, K. 191

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Symphony No. 31 “Paris,” K. 297 (300a)

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation FIERCE KEYS

7:30 PM, Saturday, November 11, 2017
Thalia Mara Hall

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Conrad Tao brings dazzle and nuance to Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The pairing with Shostakovich’s popular, deeply moving Symphony No. 10 makes this evening irresistible.

Pre-concert lecture on the Mezzanine level by Dr. Timothy Coker, 6:45-7:15 (free, cash bar available)

Sponsors

This concert generously sponsored by:

Meyer & Genevieve Falk Endowent Fund for Culture and Arts of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson

Mr. Tao's apperance is generously sponsroed by:

Jeannette Walker

Symphony Lovers Parking provided by:

Parkway Properties, Inc.

ROBERT SCHUMANN Piano Concerto

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 10

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation VOICING JOPLIN

7:30 PM, Saturday, October 07, 2017
Thalia Mara Hall

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Joplin’s uplifting opera featuring full orchestra on stage, a star-studded cast of national/local singers, and the choirs of Jackson State University, Mississippi College and Tougaloo College.

In African American composer Scott Joplin’s opera, Treemonisha, the libretto (written by Joplin), portrays a young woman on a former slave plantation who, educated during her youth, rallies her community against superstition and ignorance.  Although she faces hostility for it, she is successful in helping them understand that education is the key to success and they ultimately choose her to lead them on this path. 

In celebration of the Mississippi Bicentennial, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will presents this concert performance of Treemonisha as an offering that looks forward through the lens of our shared history.

The Mississippi Humanities Council’s Cora Norman Lecture Series presents author Ibram X. Kendi
Free and open to the public
Saturday October 7, 6:00pm
Russell C. Davis Planetarium, downtown Jackson
For information on Mr. Kendi, click here

Park once and attend both events!

Sponsors

This evening's concert is generously sponsored by:

 

 

Additional sponsorship for artist interface by:
The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation

and by the

Greater Jackson Arts Council

 

Education components connected with the performance of the Joplin opera are free and open to the public and are an official bicentennial project made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.  The events included school visit and master classes by guest artists Hope Briggs, Christin-Marie Hill and Robert Mack.

Hope Briggs' appearance is sponsored, in part, by Tom and Connie Kossen

 

Symphony Lovers Parking provided by:

Parkway Properties, Inc.

Notes by Ebony Lumumba and Lyn Raley

 

Joplin: “Treemonisha”

Born in 1867 (or 1868—we are not sure), Scott Joplin, “The King of Ragtime,” lived only into his mid-fifties. His last seventeen years, which he lived in New York City, were consumed by his efforts to see a production of Treemonisha, his third work for the stage. The first, Ragtime Dance, was only performed once during his lifetime (informally, at a club in 1899). His second, A Guest of Honor, was the story of Booker T. Washington’s dinner at the White House with Teddy Roosevelt. It was successful enough to go on tour for a short while. Unfortunately, it has been completely lost.  Treemonisha was never performed publicly during Joplin’s lifetime, although there was a rough read-through/rehearsal in 1915 at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem. Joplin published the piano/vocal score at his own expense. He died in 1917. It was not until 1971 that the opera was introduced to the public, in an unstaged reading at the New York Public Library. The event was organized by William Bolcom (the composer), Mary Lou Williams (the legendary jazz pianist), and Joshua Rifkin (the musicologist/pianist), all of whom took turns accompanying talented young New York singers. But that was hardly a true premiere. In 1972 the Atlanta Symphony, under conductor Robert Shaw, gave a staged concert performance at Morehouse College. The great Katherine Dunham directed and choreographed the staging. The “premiere” was a resounding success, nearly fifty-five years after Joplin’s passing. And finally, in 1975, the Houston Grand Opera mounted a full-scale operatic production, with Carmen Balthrop and Kathleen Battle alternating in the lead role of Treemonisha, and Gunther Schuller conducting. The Houston production even went to the Uris Theater on Broadway for several weeks. Even given this long delay, Treemonisha is the first African-American opera to achieve international recognition, and the first to be commercially recorded. In 1976, Scott Joplin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Treemonisha and for his “contributions to American music.”

Although Joplin composed Treemonisha at the height of his ragtime fame, this is not a “ragtime” opera, but one that freely mixes American popular styles, African-American dance numbers, and blues-tinged melodies, aided by Joplin’s gift for catchy melody. Joplin intended it as a serious American grand opera, complete with overture, instrumental interludes between acts, and vocal recitatives, arias, and ensemble numbers. Melvin Drimmer points out that Joplin’s unique use of the chorus “adds a new dimension to black theatre. Under Katherine Dunham’s imaginative choreography, the chorus creates a Midwestern hoe-down, a West Indian style dance, and ragtime strut. And the two songs which stop the show, ‘Aunt Dinah Done Blowed the Horn,’ and ‘A Real Slow Drag’ represent black musical expression through and through and make no concession to European operatic forms.”  The opera closes with the emotional “We Will Trust You to Be Our Leader” followed by the stirring closing, “A Real Slow Drag.” Written as an authentic rag, it is both wistful and deeply affirming.

Dr. Lyn Raley
Professor of Music
Millsaps College

 

Placing Treemonisha in Context

Scott Joplin’s 1911 opera was born into conflict.  This work, focused on an enslaved community’s agency against the evils which kept it bound, came to be in a time marked by race riots and legislated violence against America’s African American populous.  Joplin joined the growing number of African American artists of the early 20th century who took to their pens, instruments, and intellects to protest racial injustice in a period when jobs were declining and lynchings were climbing for black people in America. 

Treemonisha’s heroine defies the odds by mentally freeing her community through education while Joplin’s work breaks similar barriers existing as an opera laced with the dialect of the enslaved and bold compositions.  The lack of support and acclaim associated with Treemonisha in the time when it was written points meaningfully to its protest identity.  Joplin endeavored to produce an American opera unmarked by his ragtime fame or the racial identity of the composer and the subjects of the plot.  Yet, society prevented the exposure and success of this work and scoffed at his artistic ambition during his lifetime.  When Treemonisha was finally performed in its entirety in 1972, it was done in a city historically marked by the severe social and racial unrest again plaguing the entire country—Atlanta, Georgia.  In this moment during the late 20th century when the African American creative community was again producing art to protest the lives denied them by the status quo, Treemonisha experienced a rebirth. 

In the wake of the Charlottesville protests and the necessity to remind the world that black lives matter, Treemonisha’s themes and embodiment of resistance remains relevant.  We have again found ourselves in need of rescue from conjurers who attempt to distract us from progress and deny our freedoms with the lure of superstition.  The hope is that there is a bit of Joplin and Treemonisha in us all—a spirit and resolve that catapults us past fear of failure into liberation from everything that seeks to limit us.

Ebony Lumumba
Assistant Professor | Chair
Department of English & Modern Languages
Tougaloo College

 

A Note on the Use of Dialect

One of the most remarkable aspects of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha is the language.  Critics across decades have consistently identified the dueling dialects within the opera as either the most telling traits of its beauty or the impetus for its failure during the composer’s life.  Within this work, set in rural Arkansas during the 1880s, there are characters who engage in dialogue in standard English and others who speak in a markedly non-standard dialect of the same language.  This variance identifies each character’s role in the action as well as their level of formal education.  We are able to ascertain the degree of enlightenment each character has reached based upon whether or not they speak standard English or the rural dialect assigned to the formerly-enslaved population.

The dialect of the formerly-enslaved is positioned as a residual carry-over from enslavement and likened to the nefarious superstitions of the opera’s conjurer villains.  Those who speak it are marked as not only uneducated, but also incapable of moving beyond their figurative chains.

The speakers of standard English represent those who have awakened from the oppressive slumber of superstition.  Treemonisha does not use the non-standard speech; neither does Remus.  This indicates their status from the start of the action as those who are no longer bound by slavery and its remnants.  Treemonisha’s parents and other members of her community, however, begin the action speaking the dialect of the formerly-enslaved and are, by the end of the opera, transformed to members of the educated population with the evidence of their use of standard English.

Thus, language in Treemonisha serves distinct purposes in the opera’s composition.  The simplest is the authenticity it is meant to provide to the work in terms of its setting.  The second and more complicated is the commentary on and demonstration of varying degrees of progress within one community. 

Ebony Lumumba
Assistant Professor | Chair
Department of English & Modern Languages
Tougaloo College

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND

7:30 PM, Saturday, September 23, 2017
Thalia Mara Hall

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The Music of Carole King & James Taylor featuring Kirsti Manna & Jonathan Birchfield. Hit songwriter Kirsti Manna and national recording artist Jonathan Birchfield capture the essence of friendship and collaboration through 1970s hits like Sweet Baby James, I Feel The Earth Move, It’s Too Late, How Sweet It Is and many more!

Sponsors

and

with additional support from

BAROQUE

7:30 PM, Saturday, September 09, 2017
St. Andrews Cathedral

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The ornate flourishes of 17th and 18th century Europe’s star composers and talented MSO soloists resonate in an acoustically rich setting, with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Handel’s Water Music and works by Corelli and Vivaldi.

ARCANGELO CORELLI Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op. 6, No. 1

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 5

ANTONIO VIVALDI Concerto for Two Cellos, RV 531, in G minor

GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL Selections from Water Music

Concert Calendar

February 2018
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Upcoming Performances

ALL STRINGS

Sat, Feb 24, 2018, 7:30 PM

Cirque goes to the Cinema

Sat, Mar 03, 2018, 7:30 PM

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation: EPIC ELEGANCE

Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 7:30 PM

CONCERT IN THE CHAPEL

Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 7:30 PM

PEPSI POPS: Picnic in the Park

Fri, May 11, 2018, 7:30 PM