August 7
Need a summer escape? Did COVID-19 wreck your travel plans? The GSO and Felix Mendelssohn have you covered. Thrill to evocative and exhilarating Symphony no. 4 in A Major, the “Italian”! And don’t just take our words for it…here’s what Felix himself wrote about his experiences: “This is Italy! And now has begun what I have always thought… to be the supreme joy in life. And I am loving it.”

We hope you’ll be living “la bella vita” after this one!

And hear the GSO’s live performance here: https://youtu.be/cnkczNvEEQE

Vino and pizza not included.

August 7
The GSO is incredibly grateful to the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) and Hollingsworth Funds Inc. for their support of Upstate arts organizations, including the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.  The GSO and 9 other arts organizations were the recipients of MAC’s recent announcement of additional COVID relief funding, thanks to a $100,000 contribution from Hollingsworth Funds, Inc.  We cannot thank MAC Executive Director Alan Ethridge and his entire team enough for their unwavering support of and advocacy for the arts.

More COVID-19 relief funds awarded to Greenville arts organizations

July 30
Today, our “Digital Concert Hall” selection is Mozart’s marvelous Overture to “The Magic Flute” (“Die Zauberflote”).

“The Magic Flute” was the greatest operatic success of Mozart’s career.  Composed in 1791, the opera is in the form of a “Singspiel,” a popular style during the time it was written that included both singing and spoken dialogue, much like today’s Broadway musicals.
The overture was completed just two days prior to its world premiere in Vienna on September 30, 1791, and just two months before Mozart’s untimely death.
Many consider Mozart’s Overture to “The Magic Flute” to be the greatest of all his overtures.  The solemn beginning soon gives way to one of the most joyous and sparkling overtures ever – we dare you to try and resist tapping your fingers and toes (and even dance a little) when listening to today’s wonderful selection!
Be sure to listen to Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights by clicking on the video below, then simply click on the following link to thoroughly enjoy Mozart’s Overture to “The Magic Flute”:


July 24
If you find yourself longing for a seaside holiday, the GSO has the perfect musical antidote for you: Claude Debussy’s awe-inspiring ode to the mighty ocean, “La mer” (“The Sea”), performed by the GSO, complete with spectacular video of numerous seascapes. A special note of thanks to Gilda Tabarez for lending her video editing talents to today’s “Digital Concert Hall” feature.

Although the premiere of “La mer” in 1905 was initially not well received, in years to come it became one of the most performed compositions of Debussy’s works and is certainly one of his most popular and beloved. In fact, “La mer” has inspired and influenced a number of twentieth century composers, including John Williams, who used simplified versions of motifs from “La mer” in the score he wrote for the 1975 blockbuster motion picture, “Jaws.”

Begin your maritime musical voyage with Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights to “La mer” by clicking on the video below. Then prepare to be swept up in the marvelous orchestral “waves” of “La mer” by clicking on the following link:

July 20
For today, the GSO shares another special piece-while you can SEE the socially distanced music-making, you might be interested to learn that the composer of these two short pieces is George L. Mulfinger: our own Joanna Mulfinger’s grandfather. Music can definitely transcend time, so distance is just another challenge we’ll face together.

 “2 Selections from The Haunts of the Ellicutts
I. March of the Ellicutts
IV. Waltz of the Ellicutts

George L. Mulfinger, Sr. (1900-1988) was a composer and Professor of Piano at Syracuse University for 40 years.  He wrote many piano works for his grandchildren who were learning piano.  This collection of such works follows the humorous escapades of an imaginative species of miniature folk, the Ellicutts.”

Joanna Mulfinger (the composer’s granddaughter!), Violin
Anneka Zuehlke-King, Horn
Jessica Elliot, Piano

July 17
What’s a little musical joke between friends? Well, when you’re determined not to undermine your reputation as a “serious” composer, like Camille Saint-Saens, you might want to keep a “such fun” piece of musical jokes and observations unpublished in your lifetime. Amazing as it sounds, The Carnival of Animals, one of the most well-known and loved pieces of music by ANY composer, was performed for small audiences of friends and was only published (that is, released to the public) in accordance of Saint-Saen’s will.

Hugh Floyd is our Zoological Guide for our performance, and Maestro Tchivzhel has some of his valuable insights to share in his video below. So grab your safari helmet and
enjoy today’s trip to our musical zoo by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/knWV8lyaHhk
“…mais c’est si amusant!” English translation: “but it’s so fun” – Camille Saint-Saens

July 13
Music has always had the power to allow musicians and audiences express the feelings and ideas that are most dear to them. And when you add creative and intelligent use of technology, the result can be spectacular, as you’ll see and hear. From 2cellos to Zoe Keating, there’s definitely some amazing things happening on the cello these days-right here in Greenville: Sharon Gerber. Enjoy her version of this popular Easter Hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and learn more about Sharon here:http://sharongerbermusic.com/

July 10
Today’s selection from our Digital Concert Hall Series is the perfect accompaniment to the summer heat that has settled in, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s sunny and passionate “Capriccio espagnol.” First, be sure to listen to Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights to this popular piece based on Spanish folk melodies by clicking on the video below, then break out your sunglasses, lather on the sunblock, and fix yourself a tall, cold drink before clicking on the following link to enjoy Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio espagnol.” https://youtu.be/64r4tFiQgCw

July 3
Tomorrow is July the Fourth, the official observance of the United States’ Declaration of Independence.  GSO Music Director & Conductor Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel shares with you his own personal reflection on the Independence Day holiday and what it means to him and his family.  Simply click on the video below to hear the Maestro’s thoughts, then be sure to click on the link at the end of this paragraph to enjoy a 2006 performance of the GSO playing a quintessential piece of music, though originally created to celebrate Russia’s successful defense of Napoleon’s invading Army in 1812, has now become the composition of choice to accompany many of this nation’s fireworks displays every Fourth of July, Piotr Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

All of us from the GSO family wish you and yours a very happy and safe Independence Day weekend!

June 29
Let’s kick off the Fourth of July week with a family duet!  The English horn is a member of the oboe family – the beautiful, soulful melody in the slow movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony is performed on this instrument.  GSO English Horn Lisa Hauser Prodan takes the term, “Oboe Family,” even further: enjoy this duo of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” featuring Lisa and her daughter, Chloe.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll see Chloe onstage with the GSO someday?

June 26
Today in our Digital Concert Hall, we have a blast from the recent past for you. We at the GSO loved our 2019-2020 Masterworks Series concert, “The Russian Sorcerer & His Apprentices,” especially Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite. Once the recording of this concert came available, we just knew we had to share one of the moments that made this concert have just that little bit extra something…

For our performance of “The Firebird” Suite, we collaborated with the Greenville Center for Creative Arts and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. The Senior Drawing class, under the expert auspices of Marty Epp-Carter and Paul Yanko, produced a series of drawings that illustrate the story of this old Russian Fairy Tale.

We are thrilled to share these amazing artists’ work with you for an encore performance of “The Firebird.” Hear Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights, then lights off, full screen, and volume up before you click on the following link to enjoy Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” Suite: https://youtu.be/HZvChpy-tZ0

June 22
Please enjoy this heartfelt and beautiful duet from GSO Principal Second Violin Joanna Mulfinger and her sister, GSO cellist Sharon Gerber. 

Joanna Mulfinger personally introduces their performance with the following note: “This is comfort music to me.  Why?  Well first of all, this is music that I heard even before I was born, and music that accompanies some of my first childhood memories.  See, my mother was a violinist and my father was a cellist, and they played this duet together often.  Second of all, my parents played this duet with each other on the exact same instruments that are being played in this video!  Both of my parents have passed, and now my sister, Sharon, and I are privileged to continue playing their beautiful instruments.  These two instruments are a true couple.  They have had many heartfelt conversations over the years and they know each other well.  They seem to be able to anticipate each other and bring out the best in each other.  It is a privilege to continue the dialogue between these two instruments with my sister, and we hope you enjoy “eavesdropping” on one of our special family conversations.”

June 18
The Greenville Symphony Orchestra was thrilled to collaborate with the Greenville Youth Chorale on their latest endeavor: GVL Virtual Choir 2.0 featuring nationally acclaimed tenor Patrick Dunn from the National Tour of “Les Miserables” and their performance of “Bring Him Home.” Many thanks to Greenville Youth Chorale Founder & Executive Director Dr. Steven Brundage, his team, and the entire Greenville Youth Chorale for this amazing opportunity to include our musicians in this beautiful and powerful showcase. Please share and please support your local artists and performing arts.

June 12
The next time you feel guilty about procrastination, consider the legend of our musical selection for the week: Giaochino Rossini’s Overture to “La Gazza Ladra” (“The Thieving Magpie”).  Overtures to operas are almost always the last part composed, often being finished within days of the first performance.  Rossini was notorious for cutting things VERY close…so this time, Rossini was locked in his room and was directed to throw completed pages of his work out the window so that the parts could be copied and created for the performance. So the story goes.

The way a finished piece of music became performance ready used to be, as you can imagine, a very involved process – multiple handwritten copies of the music had to be created, and the people who did that were called…wait for it…music copyists.  These days, the GSO has an Orchestra Librarian, ensuring the entire orchestra has the correct parts to play onstage.  No handwritten copies required…usually. And to date, our Librarian has never had to lock a composer in a room to ensure completion of a work.  Well…so far.

Be sure to check out Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights to this spirited Overture by clicking on his video below, then click on the following link to enjoy this week’s selection, the Overture to “La Gazza Ladra”: https://youtu.be/VH0shwF530Y

May 29
Today’s piece nearly needs no introduction: from the very first notes, your imagination, no doubt conjures images of enchanted brooms, floods, and a mischievous magical mouse. Composed in 1897, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas was already considerably popular when Walt Disney had already purchased the musical right and was intending on making an animated short film of the piece.
At the suggestion of conductor Leopold Stokowski, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” became the cornerstone of the full-length motion picture, Disney’s “Fantasia.”

The composer of the piece, Paul Dukas, was a reserved, highly critical artist, and for many years was a highly respected teacher of composition at the Paris Conservatory. He came to resent the popularity of this piece, feeling it overshadowed his later work. Dukas died in 1935, many years, and many pieces after composing his most famous piece. He once said about teaching that “Music necessarily has to express something; it is also obliged to express somebody, namely, its composer.”

We think you’ll definitely agree that this music expresses…magic. And keep your eye on those broomsticks…

Be sure to listen to Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights to this fantastic piece by clicking on the video below, then prepare to be mesmerized by the GSO’s magical performance by clicking on the following link: https://soundcloud.com/user-545842120/sorcerers-apprentice


May 26
Johan Severin Svendsen might be new to you, and if not, today’s piece, his Romance for Violin might be the piece you know. Svendsen was a contemporary of Edvard Grieg (composer of In The Hall of the Mountain King), and Svendsen achieved quite a bit of fame and acclaim in his native Norway and Denmark.

That’s the great thing about classical music-always a new discovery, waiting around the corner. And another great thing is the creativity: GSO Violin Kathy Robinson didn’t have access to a pianist to accompany her performance…

So she did it herself. Enjoy the opening excerpt from Svendsen’s Romance for Violin, featuring Kathy Robinson…Violin AND piano!

May 22
Today’s Digital Concert Hall selection and preview from Maestro Tchivzhel celebrates tradition. Grab your cap and gown, Johannes Brahms has written a concert overture for graduation! The Academic Festival Overture was written when Brahms received an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau. Brahms sent a handwritten note, but the school’s orchestra conductor said a grander gesture was needed “Compose a symphony for us…but well orchestrated, old boy…”

The Academic Festival Overture was the result. I think we’ll all agree that the old boy, Brahms, managed to “well-orchestrate” this piece…

For the curious: orchestration is the process where the composer decides which instruments play and when. And yes, it’s as complicated as you might imagine. Next time you’re at the GSO, pay special attention to which groups of instruments are playing together, which instruments are not playing in certain sections…these wonderful sound colors are a big part of what makes an orchestra sound unique!

Click on the video below for Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights on Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, then be sure to click on the following link to hear an audio performance of this piece by the GSO: https://soundcloud.com/user-545842120/academic-festival-overture

May 18
We’re familiar with the “one-hit wonder” in music. While classical music has it’s hare of one-hit wonders, on inspection, there’s generally a rich “back catalog” of new to you music waiting to be discovered. Today, we have one of the most well-known pieces by French composer Jules Massenet, a true “you’ll know it when you hear it” piece: the Meditation from Thais, performed by GSO violinist Sarah Land and her husband, GSO cellist Ryan Knott. Composed in 1894, the Meditation is definitely one of classical music’s “greatest hits”, and we think that spending time exploring other operas like Manon, Werther, and indeed, Thais are definitely worth it!

May 15
From our “Digital Concert Hall” Series, enjoy a virtual orchestra presentation of the Finale from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

May 14
We could all use a little inspiration during these challenging times, and the GSO is proud to share violinist Sarah Land’s story how, as a Life Scholarship recipient funded by the South Carolina Education Lottery, it allowed her to pursue her dream in music. See her inspiring story in the video below.

May 11
GSO Violist Emily Schaad brings you some Carolina music today! Here’s Emily sharing a fiddle tune from Ash County, North Carolina on her viola. The GSO musicians you see and hear love all kinds of music — and how cool is it to hear the unique sound of the viola playing a fiddle tune?
Many composers use folk music in their work for all kinds of emotional impact: Dvorak, Bartok, Tchaikovsky…even Beethoven. Got a favorite orchestra/fiddle tune piece in your playlist? Let us know!

May 8
It’s been a pop song, rewritten as a piano concerto, and featured in many film scores: Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, composed in 1906. This piece was a major triumph for the composer, personally as well as musically: after a disastrous performance of his First Symphony, Rachmaninoff went through a bout of severe depression and had many doubts as to his ability to write symphonies. We think you’ll agree after hearing the Finale of his Second Symphony that those doubts were quite unfounded!
Enjoy the video below of Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel’s preview of the Finale of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony in E minor, then be sure to click on the following audio link to hear this powerful and exhilarating piece: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/17U8bNPdERphTZh3MFWlZXhkptJ_LUfY_

May 1
Join us today in our “Digital Concert Hall” series for one of Gustav Mahler’s most beloved and poignant compositions, the Fourth movement (“Adagietto”) from his Fifth Symphony.  Please note, this week’s selection is an audio file.
In the meantime, don’t miss Maestro Tchivzhel’s personal insights to this week’s performance by clicking on the video below, then sit back, close your eyes, and let the beautiful music of Mahler’s “Adagietto” from his Fifth Symphony envelop you by clicking on the following link: http://tiny.cc/MahlerAudio

April 28
A heartfelt thank you to Alan Ethridge and the entire amazing team at the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) for next week’s #GivingTuesdayNow shout out.  Show your love for the GSO and all of the performing arts by participating on Tuesday, May 5, 2020!  #supportGVLarts

Giving Tuesday Now

Tuesday, May 5th is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of generosity and unity, a day to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, no matter who or where we are. Greenville’s arts community, like many populations, has taken a huge hit due to COVID-19. Estimated losses for the major arts groups will exceed $3 million by the end of the year. Loss of revenue in ticket sales, donations and sponsorship will force certain groups to have reductions in staff and to seriously curtail the number of cultural offerings they present. Your support has never been more vital. Once the coronavirus pandemic subsides, artists and arts organizations will need to have the financial resources to regain the stability they lost during the crisis. We will be highlighting various elements of our phenomenal arts community leading up to #GivingTuesdayNow. Follow along and get to know #gvlARTS as we build up to Giving Tuesday.#supportGVLartshttps://www.facebook.com/events/289867212029343

Posted by Metropolitan Arts Council on Tuesday, April 28, 2020