San Diego Symphony to Feature Grammy Winning Garrick Ohlsson

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Renowned Pianist Garrick Ohlsson and Organist Robert Plimpton will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Saint-Saenz’s Symphony No. 3 with Music Director Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony.

This is the Symphony’s 100’s season performing.  The San Diego Entertainer is giving away tickets to see this performance.  Sign up at the end of this article  for your chance to win!  The Giveaway will end Monday Nov. 1 at noon, and winners will be announced the same day.

Grammy Award Winning Garrick Ohlsson

Ohlsson, Plimpton and the San Diego Symphony will perform together for three days: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5-6 at 8 pm, and Sunday Nov. 7 at 2 pm.  All concerts will be played at the Copley Symphony Hall.  Ticket prices range from $20 in the balcony to $96 in the Grand Tier 1.

The Symphony will open with two pieces from Frederic Chopin. The first will be Variations on “La ci darem la mano,” and will be followed by his Piano Concerto, No. 1 in E minor.  Following the intermission, The San Diego Symphony will feature the newly renovated Morton Organ in Camille Saint-Saenz’s Symphony No. 3 in C minor.

The first piece is composed by Chopin as a variation of the first act of Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni, entitled “Là ci darem la mano.”  Chopin started writing the piece when he was only 17 and published it when he was 19.  Written so early in his career, it is not typical of other Chopin pieces and performances of this piece are rare.

When Saint-Saenz composed his Symphony No. 3 and decided to include an organ in the score, it understandably became known as the “Organ” Symphony.  However it is not a piece written for an Organ and actually includes many other unusual instruments including two pianos, contrabassoon, and numerous percussion instruments.

Ohlsson, who will perform the first half of the show, is a 2008 Grammy Award-winning artist, and since being named the winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, he has been known as one of the most definitive interpreters of Frederic Chopin.  He will help complete San Diego’s celebration of the Chopin.

Though known for his expertise in performing Chopin, Ohlsson’s repertoire extends much further and is noted for having masterful performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.  In fact his Grammy Award under the category “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra)” for his Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 3.

The Chopin Orchestration is being done by Paul Chihara.  “Chopin was simply not famous for his orchestrations, and the orchestra part in this concerto was really not in the same league as the wonderful piano part.,” says Director Jahja Ling.  “I haven’t yet seen Chihara’s new score, but I am told that he has put the music into a more modern and less passive mode, with a little added color and texture. That should make the piece more interesting. The piano part remains pristine, though, and how Garrick plays it!”

Organist Robert Plimpton

Finishing up the show after the intermission will be Organist and local San Diegan Plimpton.  Plimpton is an Organist of the First United Methodist Church of San Diego, and has performed frequently with the San Diego Symphony.

From 1984-2000 Plimpton performed as the San Diego Civic Organist and performed weekly recitals on the outdoor Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park.  He went on to found the Spreckels Organ Society and record and release 4 CD’s on that organ.

Plimpton will be returning to play the recently restored Symphony Hall’s Morton Organ.  The organ has been completely overhauled and after two years of work on it, it is ready to be featured in Saint-Sainz Symphony No. 3.  “The organ is finally ready to demonstrate its full strength. I have hardly been able to wait for this,” says Ling.

Remember to sign up below before noon Nov. 1 for your chance to win tickets for what promises to be a spectacular performance.

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