The Paducah Symphony Orchestra will join in the revival of one of America's pioneering female composers during tonight's program at the Carson Center, which also will feature a premiere guest violinist.
Regarded in her time as one of the finest American artists, Amy Beach is a name that was largely forgotten after her death at the age of 77 in 1944. Over the last two decades, several performance groups around the world have taken to the stage to pay tribute to her memory and artistry, performing her "Piano Concerto," which has been called an overlooked masterwork by modern critics, and her "Gaelic Symphony," which will close the PSO program.
"The name Amy Beach is creeping into the business, as well as our audience's ears and minds," said Raffaele Ponti, Paducah Symphony's artistic director and conductor. "She's an American composer who not only wrote a great symphony but promoted it herself."
Classical music fans unfamiliar with Beach's work are in for a treat, especially fans of Johannes Brahms and Wolfgang Mozart. The Beach composition being played tonight is influenced by Celtic music, as well.
The inclusion of Beach's work in the PSO's repertoire is the first in what Ponti hopes will be a multi-year effort to display great works by underappreciated female composers.
"There are hundreds of women composers that are so talented, and I can't figure out why they're not being played," Ponti explained. "These artists were suppressed by the way things were in the world. We're still working today to get equal rights and pay for women.
"I hope that my little fight to bring these women some stage time and get them heard will be a tribute to honoring and presenting talent equally."
Tonight's program also will be featuring Daniel Kim as a soloist on Felix Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto." Kim serves as concert master for the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York's All Star Orchestra, tailoring the sound of the string sections from piece to piece.
"David Kim is the consummate violinist. He's so versatile, which is the difference between him and many others," Ponti said of the guest artist. "Not only is he a great solo artist on the violin, but he's concert master of probably the finest string sound in the entire orchestra business."
Ponti is happy to welcome the world class instrumentalist to the stage to help the symphony bring life to "one of those warhorses that's a staple of any violin repertoire" in Mendelssohn's work.
The symphony also will feature Antonin Dvorak's "Carnival Overture," which Ponti describes as "eight minutes of joy and fun."
Tonight's program will begin at the Carson Center at 7:30.
Tickets and additional information about the Paducah Symphony Orchestra can be found at www.paducahsymphony.org.