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Symphony to feature 'Yin and Yang' concert

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Charles Yang will have the bright and positive side of the equation covered when he brings his considerable talents to the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday as guest artist for the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

The PSO concert, titled "Yin and Yang," begins at 8 p.m. in the Civic Center Theatre, following a 7 p.m. pre-concert lecture.

But will there be a dark, feminine side — the "Yin" if you will — when the orchestra and Yang team on Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and other music in the PSO's second concert of the season.

"We're playing your song — from Tchaikovsky to the Beatles! A concert inspired by great melodies with the help of a rock star violinist," said a news release from the Peoria Symphony Orchestra,

Ticket prices $26, $36, $46 and $51 for adults and $11 for students. They can be reserved by calling (309) 671-1096 or purchased at the PSO box office, 101 State St., open through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets will be available to the Civic Center box office starting at 7 p.m. the night of the concert.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of Covers: Concerto for Popular Culture and Orchestra by composer Armand Ranjbaran and co-created by Charles Yang.

In a note on the PSO website Ranjbaran thanked George Stelluto, music director and conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra for the idea of the collaboration. "Charles Yang and I had a fun, rewarding experience co-creating this composition that arranges and pays homage to three incredible songs: 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, 'Blackbird' by The Beatles and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen," he wrote.

"When these song choices were proposed to me, I realized that each song would need a unique approach for its adaptation to the symphony orchestra. Our take on The Eagles' 'Hotel California' is written in the tradition of dramatic violin concerto first movements while slowly revealing the melodies and harmonies of The Eagles' timeless song. Our rendition of 'Blackbird' embeds the original song's beautiful melody within a simulated forest soundscape complete with instruments imitating bird calls. Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was already symphonic in nature and we chose to maintain its innovative structure while building a virtuosic solo violin part over that structure.

" We hope you will enjoy our renditions of these songs that we hold in such high regard," Ranjbaran said.

The Peoria Symphony has played Ranjbaran compositions in the past.

Another feature of Saturday's concert is that the Central Illinois Youth Symphony will play alongside the PSO on Tchaikovsky's Festival Overture.

In his "From The Podium" message on the PSO website Stelluto emphasized the youthful aspects of the concert, including the fact Yang and Ranjbaran are both in their 20s, the performance by the Youth Symphony and the youthful qualities of Tchaikovsky compositions. Tchaikovsky was only 26 years old when he wrote the Festival Overture, Stelluto said.

"So, we have on this concert the expressions of a youthful Tchaikovsky, the youthful exuberance of the CIYS, the youthful virtuosity and innovation of Charles Yang and Armand Ranjbaran, favorite songs of our culture, and the great PSO — 116 years young! It's Cool man!" Stelluto wrote.

Stelluto, Yang and Ranjbaran will present a panel discussion after Saturday's concert in the theatre lobby. "This is a unique opportunity to hear about the music and the performance you just heard and to ask questions," the PSO said.

Finally, as part of his community outreach Yang will perform Thursday night at Kelleher's Irish Pub, 619 SW Water St., from 8 to 10 p.m. He will perform will local songwriter Jared Bartman.

The event is open to the public.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).