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Peoria Symphony to contemplate the seasons

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Exploring the seasons and cycles of life provide the impetus for the next Peoria Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 15 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria.

"Vivaldi's Four Seasons" is the title of the concert, which begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale starting at $25 at the Symphony box office, 101 State Street, or by visiting

Violinist Paul Kantor is the featured soloist. He is a performer and renowned teacher, including at Juilliard.

In his message to PSO members, music director and orchestra conductor George Stelluto notes that everyone has a favorite season and it was with that in mind that he conceived of this concert.

"Nature generally has always inspired artists and authors from landscapes to fairy tales. The cycle of nature's seasons, however, possesses an even deeper fascination for creative minds. It represents the passage of time, the inevitability of the future, and the progress of life itself on a grander scale than the picayune ticking of seconds, minutes, and hours that narrow our perspective," Stelluto wrote.

"Three pieces grace this program. Handel's concerto grosso in C Major, Dello Joio's Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Meditations on Ecclesiastes' and Vivaldi's famous 'Four Seasons,'" he said.

Breaking each down, he spoke of how the Handel piece is celebratory and upbeat, while the "Meditations on Ecclesiastes," in which Dello Joio contemplates the start of Book Three of Ecclesiastes from the Bible, evokes "both the inner emotional content and the outward image of each season."

Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," Stelluto said, "is probably the best-known work of baroque music." Each piece is a sonnet that describes the best qualities of each season, Stelluto said.

"I have a special affinity for these pieces. I played Winter with my high school orchestra, and I studied all of them with numerous teachers, including our soloist, the world-renowned violinist and pedagogue Paul Kantor. He is a consummate artist who inspires audiences with his music and future artists with his teaching and humanity," he said.

PSO Concertmaster Marcia Henry-Liebenow and PSO Principal Cellist Adriana La Rosa Ransom will join Kantor in the Handel piece.