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Peoria Symphony ready to begin new season

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Starting with a Sunday in the park with George, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra is ready for its 2014-15 season.

The symphony will begin the season on Sunday, Sept. 7, with a free concert in Riverfront Festival Park. starting at 5 p.m. The public is invited to “pack a picnic, your blanket and bring your family” to the concert, which is sponsored by the city of Peoria.  Food vendors will be on hand, as well.

George Stelluto, music director and conductor of the symphony, said he is excited about the coming season “as it represents everything the PSO should be  ̶  an inspiring musical feast that is both gourmet and comfort food for the ears.”

The season continues with the Sept. 20 concert featuring World-Artist violinist Sarah Chang and the music of Dvorak (Violin Concerto) and Brahms (Symphony No. 1), which Stelluto called “two of the most famous and most beloved works of the romantic era.” The concert in the Peoria Civic Center Theatre begins at 8 p.m.

A concert titled “Star-Crossed Love” and featuring music of Romeo and Juliet from artists Tchaikovsky,  Berlioz and Prokofiev is set for Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Civic Center. There will be actors on stage performing dialogue from the Shakespeare classic. Said Stelluto, “The greatest love story inspires the greatest music.”

“Nature’s Majesty” is the titled of the Nov. 22 concert at the Civic Center that will feature the Peporia Symphony’s own Marcia Henry Liebenow on violin and Michael Dicker on bassoon. Featured music will be Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Lark Ascending,” John Williams’ “Five Sacred Trees,” and Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.

The Jan. 17 concert, titled “Festa Italiana,” will be at Grace Church on Illinois Route 1 and will feature the Symphony’s Mark Babbitt on trombone and John McMurtery on flute. Featured music will be from Rota, Vivaldi, Corelli and Respighi.

Quartetto Gelato, the Canadian classical quarter, will highlight the annual Romance concert on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 at the Civic Center. This group performs solo.

The Symphony returns to Grace Church for the March 14 concert titled “Visions of Vienna.” It will feature Symphony members James Riggs on oboe, Roger Garrett on clarinet and Michael Dicker on bassoon, with featured music by Salieri, Mozart and Beethoven.

“Matinee at the Movies” will return for the April 19 concert at the Civic Center. Again hosted by WMBD Radio’s Greg Batton and Dan Diorio, it will feature music from such films as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “E.T.” and “Lord of the Rings.”

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 7 will be the featured music in the PSO’s final concert of the season on May 9 in the Civic Center. It is the first time this symphony has played in Peoria and Stelluto said it will be “an artistic watershed moment for the PSO musicians” because this concert “is suitable only for accomplished orchestras who have reached an exceptional skill level.”

Stelluto said the programming for the coming season is exciting and innovative. “It is a season that appeals to both the connoisseur and the newcomer. The PSO had over 200 new subscribers last year. With this season we are inviting many more community members to join our family,” he said.

Season tickets are on sale and range in price from $189 to $504, depending on seat location. Again this year the PSO will allow patrons to choose four concerts from among the eight for $172 for single tickets

Also, new subscribers or people who have not subscribed for more than five years can buy season tickets for the eight concerts at 50 percent off the regular price, or $165, for seating in Zone 2 on the main floor.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit or call (309) 671-1096.


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).