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The Spokane Symphony's "Masterworks 3: Morihiko"

Conductor Morihiko Nakahra and guest soloist, pianist Zhu Wang, in the SPR lobby
Savanna Rothe
Spokane Public Radio
Conductor Morihiko Nakahra and guest soloist, pianist Zhu Wang, in the SPR lobby

Conductor Morihiko Nakahara and guest soloist Zhu Wang preview an SSO concert

Conductor Morihiko Nakahara and young pianist Zhu Wang joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio to shed light on the Spokane Symphony's Masterworks 3 concert—titled simply "Morihiko"—this weekend.

Nakahara, former resident conductor of the SSO, is guest conducting this concert of works by Amy Beach, Sydney Guillaume and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wang is the guest soloist for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K.467, nicknamed "Elvira Madigan" for its extensive use in a 1967 film of the same name.

Guillaume's recent work "Lavil Okap" is first on the program, and Nakahara talked about its Haitian history and influences. Audiences will remember Guillaume's work "A Taste of Freedom," which the SSO and Chorale debuted back in February.

Wang then discussed the Piano Concerto No. 21, which happened to be one of his earliest performance pieces. He explained how he approaches it differently now and the new qualities and complexities he has discovered in it. He also offered a little insight into his work with violinist Randall Goosby in the Goosby-Wang Duo.

Finally, Nakahara discussed Beach's Gaelic Symphony in E minor, Op.32, which was the composer's response of sort to Dvorak’s contemporaneous Ninth Symphony, 'From the New World.' Dvorak’s work was just performed as part of this season's first Masterworks concert. Beach was an autodidact, and her Gaelic Symphony—the first published symphony by an American woman—reflected her unique perspective.

Immediately prior to the interview itself, Wang played the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op.31, No. 2 live in the SPR performance space. Following the interview, he performed Chopin’s Nocturne in B major, Op. 62, No. 1.

There are two performances of Masterworks 3: Morihiko. The first is tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 21), and the second is on Sunday (Oct. 22). Both are at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in downtown Spokane. Tickets and more information are available at the Fox Theater website or by calling the box office on (509) 624-1200.

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director
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