Mobile Symphony Orchestra presents “Russian Festival”

 The Mobile Symphony Orchestra will present “Russian Festival” Saturday, April 12th at 8:00pm and Sunday, April 13th at 2:30pm at the Saenger Theatre. Scott Speck tells Cherish Lombard the performance will feature Nobuyuki Tsujii, blind pianist and subject of the highly acclaimed documentary “A Surprise in Texas.” The documentary will be shown Thursday, April 10th at 8:00pm in Mobile at the Crescent Theater.

The concert this weekend will begin with Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich. This piece, which was conceived by conductor Vasili Nebol’sin in 1954, is intended as a razzle-dazzle piece to open a concert. Next is the third piano concerto by Sergei Prokofiev. A harsh brass fanfare, Fate, opens the symphony and recurs throughout the first movement. The second movement shows another phase of sadness, and a playful scherzo follows, where the strings play pizzicato from first bar to last. A brilliant flourish for full orchestra launches the boisterous finale at top speed. Woodwinds introduce the main theme and eventually “Fate” makes a catastrophic reappearance, bringing the celebrations to a grinding halt.

Tokyo native Tsujii has been blind since birth, and was joint-winner of the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009. Tsujii is an inspirational musician with a formidable technique and has earned international recognition in recent years for the excitement of his live performances. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared with numerous orchestras across the world and has given sold-out performances as a recitalist.

Russian Festival is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Hatcher III, Metcalfe Charitable Trust and Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Shirk. Individual tickets are $20-$65 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 251-432-2010, or at the symphony box office at 257 Dauphin Street. Students K-12 may attend the Sunday matinee for free when accompanied by one paying adult, through the MSO’s Big Red Ticket Program. College students can purchase tickets for $10 with valid college identification.

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