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ASO welcomes violin virtuoso

Symphony performs Ravel’s masterpiece, too.

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ELMAR OLIVEIRA: With ASO.
  • ELMAR OLIVEIRA: With ASO.
Guest violinist Elmar Oliveira, a two-time Grammy Award nominee, will join the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Dmitry Shostakovich’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor” in two ASO concerts this weekend at Robinson Center Music Hall. The Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16. ASO conductor David Itkin will lead the symphony in Emmanuel Chabrier’s high-spirited “Espana” and the concluding work, Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe: Suites 1 and 2,” in addition to the piece with Oliveira. Itkin also will lead the pre-show “Concert Conversations,” a free-lecture series in rooms 101-102 of the music hall beginning 45 minutes before each show. Ticket prices range from $16 to $43. Call the ASO box office at 666-1761 or book seats online at www.arkansassymphony.org. Chabrier’s “Espana” was influenced by popular Spanish music of the late 1800s and will have the listener thinking “salsa.” Shostakovich composed his concerto with its intense cadenza at a time when artistic expression was considered subversive in Stalin-ruled Russia. Oliveira, the son of Portuguese immigrants and among his generation’s most honored artists, remains the only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Competition. He is also the first violinist to receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, in addition to capturing First Prizes at the Naumburg International Competition and the G.B. Dealey Competition. Oliveira is also a prodigious recording artist, and his best-selling recording of the Rautavaara “Violin Concerto” with the Helsinki Philharmonic recently won a Cannes Classical Award. The ballet “Daphnis and Chloe,” Ravel’s lengthiest composition, is widely considered his masterpiece.

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