2017 American Pianists Awards Winner Drew Petersen to Perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

by Tucson Symphony

Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern to Make TSO Debut Conducting Program Featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, “Polish”

(Tucson, AZ)— Drew Petersen, winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association, will perform Edvard Grieg’s Concerto for Piano, one of the most popular of all piano concertos, with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Michael Stern, Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony, will conduct the performances on Friday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 19 at 2:00 pm at the Tucson Music Hall.  The program will open with Sibelius’ Finlandia and conclude with the TSO premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, “Polish.” Concert Comments, one hour prior to performances, are complimentary with tickets.

Drew Petersen’s career had an auspicious and early beginning: he was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall at age five and by age 10 performed a solo recital at Steinway Hall in Manhattan for the company’s 150th Anniversary. His unique gifts have been profiled in The New York Times, New York Magazine and in the documentary Just Normal. Petersen graduated cum laude from Harvard at age 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and did his undergraduate and graduate music studies at the Juilliard School. He has recently been accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School.

Petersen was appointed Artist-in-Residence for two years by the University of Indianapolis, commencing in the fall of 2017. After a recent performance, the Indianapolis alternative weekly, NUVO, wrote, “Petersen’s ability to go from intense and nearly thunderous to gentle and tranquil was astonishing and wholly satisfying.”

Conductor Michael Stern is in his 13th season as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. Stern has conducted the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Montreal, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle and Boston symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. Stern received his music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Edvard Grieg modeled his only piano concerto after Robert Schumann’s, from its A-minor orientation to its structure and relative lengths of each movement. On a visit, Franz Liszt sat down and played through the work, admiring it as he played. Tchaikovsky was also an admirer, seeing in Grieg’s music, “all the beauty of Norwegian scenery, now grandiose and sublime in its vast expanse, now gray and dull, but always full of charm.”

Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony was the product of an idyllic period spent in the country away from Moscow. It is his only symphony in a major key and the only one to have five movements. The first two movements and last two surround a core third movement which is the most complex and listener challenging and creates a sense of balance. The designated naming of the Symphony “Polish” was by a London conductor due to the final movement marked “Tempo di polacca” – the music is polonaise-like.

Jean Sibelius played a leading role in the musical expression of Finnish culture. He conceived of Finlandia in a suite of works composed for a patriotic festival held in 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Emperor. Originally titled “Finland Awakens,” the piece was warmly received and subsequently reworked and renamed. It is the best known work of the composer’s entire canon.

The Classic Series is sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek.

Tickets for the Grieg Piano Concerto are $30 to $86. They are available online at www.tucsonsymphony.org, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at 520.882.8585. TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Programming, artists and prices are subject to change.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, 520.620.9158