Arts & Entertainment

Livingston Symphony Orchestra to Present Season Finale Concert This Weekend

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Victoria Chung, Juilliard Student and Young Artist Winner, Performs Mozart Oboe concerto with Livingston Symphony Orchestra  Credits: unknown
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LIVINGSTON, NJ — Maestro Anthony LaGruth concludes his inaugural season with the Livingston Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in its "Season Finale" on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant Middle School, featuring this year’s Young Artist Concerto Competition Winner Victoria Chung.

Chung, 20, will perform Mozart’s “Oboe Concerto in C” with the orchestra, which will also perform Wagner’s Prelude to Act 3 of his opera “Lohengrin,” Liszt’s “Les Preludes” and Tchaikovsky’s “Fourth Symphony.”

Pieces selected by LaGruth are audience favorites, each a distinct form with a story to tell. Opening the program is Prelude to Act 3 of “Lohengrin,” from a Wagnerian opera based upon a medieval legend.

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This music precedes the wedding of a Knight of the Holy Grail and his rescued bride to be, and coincidentally, was first conducted by Wagner’s father-in-law to be, Franz Liszt, the composer of the next piece. Liszt, known as the greatest pianist of his time, is also a romantic composer and innovator of the “symphonic tone poem,” of which “Les Preludes” is his most popular.

Four memorable themes from this single movement showpiece have been described as “love, destiny, war and countryside" or even “peace, storm, excitement and life.” The evening ends with Tchaikovksy’s passionate Fourth Symphony, which Tchaikovsky composed during a year that included an ill-fated marriage to a former student and the beginning of a long-term relationship with a patroness—one he corresponds with more than one thousand times, but never actually meets in person.

Often referred to as the “Fate Symphony,” this work reflects an exhaustive emotional journey from darkness to nostalgia, new beginnings and triumph. LaGruth looks forward to sharing this music, their stories, and more with audiences with all levels of musical understanding on May 14.

While the LSO musicians value LaGruth’s gifts of audience rapport, story-telling and musicianship, they said they are especially pleased to also be working at this season finale with Young Artist Competition winner, oboe player Victoria Chung. 

Ridgewood’s Chung has been selected to perform with the orchestra from amongst 1420-year-old New Jersey musicians after an application and audition process conducted by LaGruth and orchestra members Janis Kaplan (Union cellist); Randy Calistri-Yeh (principal cellist, Florham Park); and Margaret Walker (flautist, Denville). 

Born in the United States, Chung is currently a Juilliard Student who has won multiple awards in both Korea and the U.S.A. Technically masterful, her musicality sets her apart from her peers and per her bio, she sees herself as an oboe player for a major orchestra, a position in which she can collaborate with her peers in sharing her passion for music and conveying “the stories that only can be told through music.” 

Chung's choice of pieces for this performance, Mozart’s “Oboe Concerto,” has a story all its own, written originally for a Salzburg oboe player, performed by at least two others, and ultimately repurposed as a commissioned flute solo. It is a testament to the joy of Mozart’s work, and as performed by Chung, a rare opportunity for audience members to listen and revel in the expressive, voice-like quality of the oboe instrument.

Be a part of a musical evening and the larger story of a venerable tradition, which includes dedicated musicians, their newly appointed conductor, professional level performance, and a rising musical star on Saturday evening, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. 

The venue has been changed for this concert to Mount Pleasant Middle School, located 11 Broadlawn Drive in Livingston, with tickets available at the door or by calling (973) 980-1809. 

Tickets range from free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult and high school students with id, to $15 for seniors and $25 for adults. Visit www.lsonj.org for more information on the Livingston Symphony Orchestra and its 2015-2016 “Season Finale.”

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