FORT WAYNE — The Fort Wayne Philharmonic will devote the opening of its 2019-2020 season to the music of Russia’s greatest composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

“Opening Night: Tchaikovsky Spectacular” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the historic Embassy Theatre. The concert will feature pianist Nikolai Demidenko and a special, side-by-side performance with the Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The concert begins with the Youth Symphony Orchestra side-by-side performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Coronation March,” a piece that has special significance for the Youth Symphony Orchestra.

According to Troy Webdell, director of the Youth Orchestras Program, “Coronation March” was chosen for the side-by-side performance because of its connection to Carnegie Hall, a venue at which the Youth Symphony Orchestra will be performing in April.

“The march was given its U.S. premiere by the composer himself in 1891 during the hall’s inaugural concert. We feel it is important to emphasize these significant historical connections for the students as they prepare for their Carnegie performance,” said Webdell.

The second piece on the program, Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” will be performed by critically acclaimed artist Nikolai Demidenko.

Demidenko has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim for his authoritative interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmanino and Tchaikovsky. His extensive discography consists of nearly 40 CDs including his Hyperion recording of “Scriabin & Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos” that won BBC Music Magazine’s Best of The Year and Best Concerto Recording of The Year by Classis CD.

After intermission, the final piece on the program is Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36.”

“I chose Tchaikovsky’s ‘Symphony No. 4’ for our opening-night concert not just because it’s a perfect companion piece to his ‘Piano Concerto No.1,’ and also one of the most dynamic and exhilarating pieces in the repertoire, but because of the compelling conundrum that this masterpiece poses,” said Constantine.

Constantine has studied this work with a passion over many years searching to find an answer to that conundrum.

“This symphony is dealing with fate and the overwhelming force that it exerts over our lives, but is the final resolution a resignation to its control or, a dramatic futile attempt to overcome it? The answer still alludes me,” Constantine said. “Nevertheless, I love it as much as any work I conduct and can’t imagine life without this challenge.”

Musically Speaking, the pre-concert lecture series before every Masterworks performance, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Lectures are held in the Grand Wayne Center for Embassy concerts and Room 120 for concerts at the Rhinehart Music Center, Purdue Fort Wayne, and are free to all ticket holders.

Tickets for “Opening Night: Tchaikovsky Spectacular” start at $22 and are available for purchase online at fwphil.org. Purchases can be made in person at the Philharmonic Box Office, 4901 Fuller Drive, or over the phone by calling 481-0777. The Philharmonic Box Office is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or Saturday (Masterworks and Pops concert days only) from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the Embassy Theatre during normal operating hours. Tickets may be purchased at the venue two hours prior for Masterworks and Pops concerts and one hour prior for all other concerts. Full program and series information is available at fwphil.org.

Now entering its 76th season, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s mission is to inspire and foster a lifelong love of symphonic music through performance and education. Music Director Andrew Constantine leads the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. All programming is made possible by the support of community individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations. The Philharmonic is a funded member of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, the Indiana Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.

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