Tupelo Symphony Orchestra explores ‘New Worlds’

TUPELO – The Tupelo Symphony Orchestra’s closing show for its 41st season is all about discovery and, as it’s titled, “New Worlds.”

“Everything on the program is a reflection of its own time. They were something new and fresh and novel,” said conductor Steven Byess.

The program begins with Debussy’s “Danse sacrée et Danse profane,” with harpist Sarah Crocker.

The piece, written in 1904, was written for the chromatic harp, an invention of the late 1800s that was strung like a piano. While the instrument didn’t catch on, this piece still stands.

“It’s a beautiful, absolutely gorgeous piece for harp and string,” he said.

Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is the most popular and well-known piece on the program.

“It was something so novel and so exciting when it was written,” Byess said. “Now it’s as recognizable as any piece of music ever written. It’s very listener-friendly and has a universal appeal.”

The piece debuted in 1924 and brought jazz and popular music into the concert hall.

South Korean pianist Yoonie Han will perform the piece with the orchestra.

Han, winner of the Washington International Piano Competition in 2011, has performed with orchestras around the world.

“We performed this together in February with another symphony, and she was amazing,” Byess said.

The evening closes with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor from the New World Symphony.

Inspired by Native American music and African-American spirituals, the piece has a “folksy” sound to it, Byess said.

“It has a very rich quality,” he said.

Byess said he and the symphony are ready to take listeners on a journey.

“It’s a wonderful program to end the season,” he said. “It has a fresh, novel sheen, and all of the pieces are exciting and thrilling.”


• On stage

What: Tupelo Symphony Orchestra presents “New Worlds” featuring pianist Yoonie Han and harpist Sarah Crocker

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Link Centre Concert Hall

Cost: $25/advanced, $10/students

Info: tupelosymphony.com, (662) 842-8433

Extra: There will be a pre-concert dinner in the Link Centre Reception Hall at 5 p.m. The menu includes shrimp cocktail, filet of beef, stuffed tomato, baked potato and caramel pie. It’s $35/person, with wine available for purchase. Call (662) 690-4011 to make reservations.

• Second show

The Tupelo Symphony Orchestra will present “Rhapsody in Blue” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Magnolia Civic Center in New Albany. Tickets are $15/reserved and $10/general admission. Call (662) 534-4354 for more.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

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