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Love is in the Air with William Hagen

The Great Falls Symphony continues the 2017-18 Silver Series season, presented by D.A. Davidson Companies, with Love is in the Air, sponsored by Sletten Construction, and featuring the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra and virtuoso violinist, William Hagen, on Saturday, February 10, 7:30 pm at the Mansfield Theater. Take your date out on the town for a romantic dinner before coming to this one-hour concert without intermission. Both the novice and seasoned listener will instantly fall in love with the lush and beautiful music to be performed.

After the concert, join the musicians and the Maestro onstage for complimentary refreshments.

Twenty-three-year-old violinist William Hagen is a winner of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition (the highest ranking American since 1985). Having captured the attention of the Belgian press and public during the competition, William has been hailed as a “brilliant virtuoso… a standout” (the Dallas Morning News) with an “intellectual command of line and score, and just the right amount of power” ( who “plays with an obvious and sincere love for the very act of music making” (North Texas Performing Arts News).

A native of Utah, William first heard the violin at the age of 3 and began lessons at the age of 4. At age 10, he entered the studio of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, commuting to Los Angeles every week for lessons. After studying with Itzhak Perlman at Julliard, William joined the prestigious Kronberg Academy in Germany as a student of Christian Tetzlaff.

Since his professional debut at age nine with the Utah Symphony, William has performed with Symphony Orchestras all over the United States and abroad, including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Belgium, and the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan.

The following program will be presented Saturday Evening:

Psyche and Eros by Cesar Franck (1822-1890)

Talented from a young age, Cesar Franck was pushed into the life of a child prodigy by his father, giving concerts of his own music and entering the Paris Conservatory at the age of 13. His career as a touring virtuoso never taking off, he eventually settled into a series of church organist positions, rising through the ranks to becoming the Paris Conservatory’s organ professor and, by all accounts, one of the most remarkable improvisers of his day.

Psyche and Eros is based off of the Greek tale of Cupid. In the story, Princess Psyche is so astonishingly beautiful, that the people of her kingdom began to worship her instead of the goddess Aphrodite. In an attempt to regain the kingdom’s favor, Aphrodite devises the plan to make Princess Psyche fall in love with a hideous creature by sending Cupid and his famous love-at-first-sight arrow. The plan doesn’t work, however, because Cupid accidentally pokes himself with the arrow and immediately falls in love with Psyche.

Romance by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)

Dvorak had an internationally acclaimed career that saw performances throughout Europe and America. While playing principal viola for the Prague Provisional Theater, under the direction of Bedrich Smetana, he wrote Romance for the orchestra’s concertmaster, Josef Markus. Marked with lyric character and a virtuosic cadenza-like passage, William Hagen will bring this piece to life.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)

Another Child prodigy—like Franck, Camille Saint-Saens was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at age 13. He was known for championing “new” music in his early career, and advocated for the then-modernists, Liszt and Wagner. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso was written for the Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate and includes brilliant melodies and technical pyrotechnics designed to show off this great performer of the day.

Symphony No 2 Opus 30 “Romantic” by Howard Hanson (1896-1981)

An active composer and conductor, Howard Hanson played an integral role in the development of university music education in America. He held the position of dean at the Eastman School of Music for 40 years, and arguably raised the school to be known as the preeminent music school in the country. Unabashedly conservative in his musical style, Hanson gave his second symphony the title Romantic. “Much contemporary music seems to me to be showing a tendency to become entirely too cerebral. I do not believe that music is primarily a matter of intellect, but rather a manifestation of the emotions. I have, therefore, aimed… to create a work that was young in spirit, lyrical and Romantic in temperament.” Elements of this piece are undoubtedly the source of composer John William’s inspiration when writing the soundtrack for E.T.

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