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OHIO VALLEY SYMPHONY EVENING OF 2nds

November 5, 2011, 8:00 p.m.

by Thomas Consolo

The “frost is on the punkin'” outside, but the Ohio Valley Symphony will keep “a feller a-feelin’ at his best” with the warm glow of timeless music.

The orchestra, conducted by music director Ray Fowler, welcomes pianist Lori Sims at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 for “The Grand Piano,” a program of Beethoven
and Brahms. It’s the second concert of the 22nd OVS season and the first this year at the orchestra’s permanent home, the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater
Performing Arts Centre in downtown Gallipolis.

The program opens with one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s early symphonies, the second. For audiences who equate Beethoven with forceful Romanticism,
the Symphony No. 2 will be an eye opener: Written just after the turn of the 19th century, it’s full of wry humor, delicacy and the kind of Classical-era balance
that his teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, would have approved. It’s also filled with enough quirks and surprises to make it clear it’s from the new kid on the block.

Sims joins the OVS after intermission for Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Brahms spent his early years feeling the weight of Beethoven’s legacy,
but, by the time he wrote the second piano concerto, he had shattered that jinx with two symphonies. With a fourth movement — unusual for that kind of
piece — the concerto is like a symphony for piano and orchestra.

It’s Brahms at the top of his game and his most relaxed. It’s a perfect piece for Sims, according to Fowler, who counts her as “one of the best-kept secrets
of the piano world.” Her playing, Fowler says, “has such integrity and such heart. She’ll carry the audience through the piece.”

Sims won over Ariel audiences in 2008 with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s passionate second piano concerto. She has performed in recital, with chamber
groups and as soloist with symphonies in the United States, Europe, and China. She was the gold medal winner at the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano
Competition — where she also won the prize for best performance of a work by Brahms. Her 2000 debut at New York’s Alice Tully Hall earned a rave review
in the New York Times. The Colorado native is a Yale graduate who now teaches as the John T. Bernhard Professor of Music at Western Michigan University.

As part of the Ohio Valley Symphony’s mission to bring live, professional, orchestral music to the region and to instill a love of music — especially in children —
the public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and 1-4 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Ariel Theatre. Open rehearsals are a great
way for young and old alike to grow familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation of an orchestral
performance.

Concert-goers have another unique opportunity to make a personal connection with the music, too. Thomas Consolo, OVS assistant conductor and program
annotator, offers a pre-concert talk in the newly-restored Ariel Chamber Theater. The casual get-together will put a more personal face on the night’s music
and answer questions about the program, the OVS or the orchestral experience in general. The talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 5.

Single tickets to “The Grand Piano” with the Ohio Valley Symphony cost $22, $20 (senior) and $10 (student). Tickets and more information are available at
the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre box office, 428 Second Ave., Gallipolis; by phone, (740) 446-2787 (ARTS); and through the
OVS Web site, www.ohiovalleysymphony.org.

Funding for the Ohio Valley Symphony is provided in part by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment. Further support is provided by the Ohio Arts Council, a
state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.