Geoffrey Robson, Conductor
Andrius Žlabys, Piano
Richard Strauss: Don Juan
Florence Price: Ethiopia’s Shadow in America
Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
Join the notorious Spanish rake on his legendary quest to find the perfect woman with Richard Strauss’ Don Juan. Written in 1888, Don Juan has been keeping musicians up at night ever since. The technical challenges of this piece are legendary, and you’ll be right there as the artists of the Greenville Symphony bring their years of training and incredible skill to bear for the realization of this work.
Prolific Arkansan composer Florence Price wrote Ethiopia’s Shadow in America in 1932, but it was lost along with many of her other compositions until rediscovered in an abandoned home in Illinois in 2009. While her music is neo-romantic in style, it is thoroughly American and unmistakably Southern. Price is the first African-American woman composer to have a work performed by a major American orchestra.
Brahms jokingly called Piano Concerto No. 2 “a tiny concerto,” and when you hear it, you’ll laugh too, because the last thing anyone would call this intensely dramatic and passionate piece is tiny. The composer premiered the concerto himself in Budapest in 1881, and dedicated it to his childhood piano teacher. We were fortunate to get GRAMMY-nominated pianist Andrius Žlabys as our soloist for this experience and can’t wait to hear him fill Peace Center Concert Hall with Brahms’ “tiny” tribute to his mentor.
Geoffrey Robson has emerged as a force of artistic leadership in the U.S. He currently serves as Artistic Director and is the principal conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has received national accolades for successful pandemic-era programming, as well as for its inclusive and community-oriented concerts.
Robson is in demand as a collaborator and has conducted numerous ballet, opera, and theater productions in recent years. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival, and he served as visiting professor at University of Central Arkansas.
In 2017 he was awarded the Respighi Prize in Conducting and performed at Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from Yale University and Michigan State University, and also studied conducting at Mannes College of Music. His teachers have included Lawrence Leighton Smith, Edward Cumming, John Farrer, Neil Thomson, David Hayes, and Larry Rachleff.
“His easy virtuosity is a wonder” (The Strad) “Contemplative and mesmerizing” (Los Angeles Times): Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Žlabys has received international acclaim for his appearances with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires.
Andrius Žlabys — born in Lithuania and trained at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia — was 18 years old when the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Pianist-composer Andrius Žlabys is one of the most gifted young keyboard artists to emerge in years.” Žlabys was also heralded by The New York Sun in a review titled “A Shining Hope of Pianists” after his recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Mr. Žlabys’s concerts have included appearances on many of the world’s leading stages, such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Phillips Collection, Teatro Colón, and Suntory Hall. In 2012 Andrius Žlabys made his concerto debut at the Salzburg Festival performing Mozart’s Concerto K.467 with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra conducted by Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla.
He has also appeared at numerous festivals, including the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Lockenhaus Festival and Caramoor music festival, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at the Isaac Stern Auditorium with the New York Youth Symphony conducted by Misha Santora in 2001 in a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. He was also invited the following season as soloist with Kremerata Baltica to perform Benjamin Britten’s Young Apollo at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall.
A multifaceted musician of wide-ranging repertoire, Andrius Žlabys holds a special reverence for J. S. Bach, while remaining a strong advocate for the contemporary stage with numerous works commissioned by and written for him. Andrius Žlabys has enjoyed collaborations with several esteemed musicians, including violist Yuri Bashmet, violinist Hilary Hahn, and an enduring collaboration with violinist Gidon Kremer with whom Žlabys has toured extensively in Europe, Japan, South America, and the U.S.
He is a featured soloist in “Between two Waves” by Victor Kissine for piano and string orchestra released on ECM in collaboration with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica. Žlabys received a Grammy nomination for his recording of Enescu’s Piano Quintet with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica.
He was a winner of the 2000 Astral Artists National auditions. Andrius Žlabys began piano studies at the age of six in his native Lithuania with Laima Jakniuniene at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art, and continued his studies in the U.S. with Victoria Mushkatkol (Interlochen Arts Academy), Seymour Lipkin (Curtis Institute of Music), Sergei Babayan (Cleveland Institute of Music), and Claude Frank (Yale School of Music).