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Ben Folds with ESO & SymFest

Ben Folds

Pop superstar Ben Folds joins forces with Eugene Symphony for an evening of genre-bending music that will delight, surprise and inspire. Singer, songwriter, and pianist for the indie group Ben Folds Five in the 90s, and later a judge on the hit show The Sing-Off, Folds brings his signature wit and powerful anthems to Eugene for a night of pop-classical crossover. After the concert, join us for the after-party, in either the jazz lounge or on the DJ’d dance floor. Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor | Ben Folds, piano and vocals

ESO: C3 Community/Bolero

Bolero

To close our exploration of how music can build a community, we hear two depictions of true friendship – first, in Richard Strauss’s setting of Cervantes’ epic tale of an errant knight and his trusty sidekick, and then in Edward Elgar’s inspiring series of musical portraits honoring his family and friends. Then, we end with one of music’s most enduring and beguiling melodies, Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, complete with a video of our own Eugene Symphony musicians playing their instruments all across our beloved home town.

Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor | *Joshua Roman, cello

ESO: Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf

Share Sergei Prokofiev’s classic tale of a young boy overcoming his fears with your kids or grandkids! Peter teams up with his friends – a bird, duck, and cat – to defeat the threatening wolf and still make it home by supper. It’s a story that will warm your heart with music that will inspire your young person’s curious mind.

Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor

ESO: C3 Connection/Beethoven's Fifth

Connection/Beethoven's Fifth

This thrilling second installment of our C3 initiative explores how music and art bring us closer together, including an innovative collaboration with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum that showcases the creative evolution of four Oregon visual artists, each interpreting a movement of Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis. Then, viola guru Roberto Díaz illuminates Jennifer Higdon’s Grammy-winning Viola Concerto, and local dance troupe #instaballet crowdsources new choreography for Gabriel Fauré’s charming Pavane.

ESO: C3 Creativity/Rachmaninov Piano Concerto

Creativty/Rachmaninov Piano Concerto

This is the first of three interlinked concerts that highlight how individual creativity creates connections between us, which then help forge a community. We hear Sergei Rachmaninov’s epic and inventive Second Piano Concerto, which brought him back from the brink of writer’s block that threatened his career. Before it, we inaugurate our four-year “First Symphony Project” with a new work by Composer-in-Residence Matthew Browne.

ESO: Leslie Odom, Jr.

Leslie Odom, Jr.

You won’t want to miss this breathtaking evening with one of today’s biggest Broadway stars! Leslie Odom, Jr. originated the role of Aaron Burr in the smash-hit Hamilton, and will make his Eugene debut with a feel-good program of jazz standards and familiar Broadway hits. Buy early or risk missing out!

ESO: Kahane Plays Beethoven

Kahane Plays Beethoven

Eugene favorite Jeffrey Kahane returns to play Ludwig van Beethoven’s introspective and powerful Fourth Piano Concerto while conducting the orchestra from the keyboard – as Beethoven himself did at its premiere in 1808. Along with it, we hear the original version of Romantic icon Robert Schumann’s fourth and final symphony in all its visceral and invigorating glory, and then Gioacchino Rossini’s noble and luminous overture sends us out of Silva Concert Hall walking on air.

Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano*

*Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Schumann: Symphony No. 4

ESO: Brahms & Sibelius

Brahms & Sibelius

It took Johannes Brahms nearly 15 years to write his first symphony, and only a few months to write a second. The result: a warm, inviting, and even playful symphony full of life and joy that will cheer and charm you. Jean Sibelius’ heartfelt concerto gives Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä stunningly beautiful – and diabolically difficult – opportunities to shine on the Silva stage. We open with star American composer Missy Mazzoli’s lush and spiritual music, which pairs perfectly with what follows.

Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor | Elina Vähälä, violin*

ESO: The "Organ" Symphony

The "Organ" Symphony

Camille Saint-Saëns’s stirring symphony has enchanted audiences for generations with its graceful melodies and charging rhythms, and when the mighty organ makes its dramatic entrance you’ll be spellbound. Before it, Hector Berlioz’s heroic overture gets us off to a rollicking start, and then we hear the exhilarating sounds of Sergei Prokofiev’s firecracker of a concerto that will pull you to the edge of your seat.

Jessica Cottis, conductor | Aristo Sham, piano*

Berlioz: Le Corsaire Overture

*Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, “Organ”

ESO: Mozart's Requiem

Mozart's Requiem

Few other composers have captured our imaginations like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose tragically short life yielded masterpieces that astonish the mind and awaken the soul. Hear his unfinished Requiem, perhaps finally as he intended, as completed by modern Mozart expert Robert Levin. The evening also features two of our own Eugene Symphony musicians in Antonio Vivaldi’s sparkling Concerto for Two Cellos, and young American composer Jessie Montgomery’s poignant remembrance of a friend and commemoration of the music that infused her youth in Manhattan.

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