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National symphony to perform at WFU

By Pam Barrett
336.758.5237
February 3, 2004

As part of Wake Forest University’s Secrest Artist Series, the National Symphony Orchestra, considered one of the today’s finest orchestras, will perform at Wake Forest Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. in Wait Chapel.

Leonard SlatkinConducted by internationally acclaimed music director Leonard Slatkin, the orchestra’s performance will include the overture to “The Roman Carnival” by Hector Berlioz, “Three Places in New England” by Charles Ives, and Gustav Mahler’s edition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” Before the Beethoven performance, Slatkin will comment on and illustrate excerpts of Mahler’s editing of “Eroica.”

Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “robust, delicate and marvelously flexible ensemble that too few people outside of Washington know about,” the National Symphony Orchestra has served the nation since 1931. It has performed international tours, numerous national broadcasts, special events and themed festivals such as “Soundtracks” and “Journey to America,” both of which recently drew national attention. Other noteworthy events for the orchestra include an evening at the White House in which the orchestra and Slatkin were honored for their advocacy of America's artistic heritage, a White House concert honoring the state visit of the Chinese President and the 1996 Grammy for Best Classical Recording of John Corigliano’s “Of Rag and Remembrance.”

Leonard SlatkinIn 1986, the orchestra became the artistic affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where it has presented a concert season annually since the center opened in 1971. The orchestra’s 100 musicians present approximately 175 concerts each year on five continents.

Slatkin, who is in his eighth season as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, has led the orchestra in highly praised European, Asian and U.S. tours. At a performance in Vienna, The Washington Post reported: “The concert concluded with a 12-minute ovation. The capacity audience—famous as one of the coolest and most fastidious in the world—erupted into a stomping, shouting, whistling ovation.”

Slatkin is also an advocate for music education and American music and musicians. He is the founder and director of the National Conducting Institute, a program that helps conductors transition from leading part-time or academic orchestras to working with full-time major symphony orchestras.

His discography includes more than 100 recordings recognized with five Grammy Awards and more than 50 other Grammy nominations. He has received numerous recording prizes, ASCAP citations and honorary doctorates, including one from his alma mater, The Juilliard School.

The Washingtonian Magazine, which recently named Slatkin a “Washingtonian of the Year,” wrote, “To watch Leonard Slatkin in action is to really watch Leonard Slatkin in action. When he conducts the National Symphony Orchestra, he lunges, dips, jumps, and pivots. The audience begins to understand why the podium has a guardrail.”

Slatkin will present a public lecture at Reynolda House at 12:30 p.m. on music education in the public schools. Admission is $5.

A free pre-concert talk will be also presented by David Levy, chairman of the Wake Forest department of music and noted Beethoven scholar, at 7:10 p.m. in the Wait Chapel Balcony Room.

The 2004 National Symphony Orchestra East Coast Tour is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and non-Wake Forest students. Tickets for all Secrest Artists Series events are available without charge to Wake Forest students, faulty and staff. Group discounts are also available through the Secrest Series Office at 336-758-5757.

Tickets may be purchased through the Wake Forest Theatre Box Office at 336-758-5295. Box office hours are 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays.


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