As Georgia’s first-ever symphony orchestra, and the second formed in the United States, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is one of the Chattahoochee Valley’s historic treasures. Still going strong 163 years later, the CSO continues to produce vibrant works of art each season and this season’s line-up proves to be one of the most exciting yet.
Maestro George Del Gobbo has programmed a year of music that everyone can enjoy; from classical works composed by greats such as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff to Folk Rock and Pop songs of the ’70s by iconic songwriters like Carol King, James Taylor, and hitmakers like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. The whole family can experience the Wild, Wild West in concert with a collaboration between the CSO, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Columbus Museum. The season will take you on a musical journey around the world as the CSO highlights music from America, Argentina, France, Russia, Spain and more. If that wasn’t exciting enough, add featured guest artists on a variety of instruments including piano, violin, cello, oboe, saxophone, and even guitars. Nowhere else in the Chattahoochee Valley can you experience this caliber of live, acoustic music performed by more than 60 professional musicians.
The season kicks off Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts with Rachmaninoff Meets the New Piano where famed pianist Claire Huangci will premiere the orchestra’s brand new Steinway & Sons concert grand piano. No stranger to the CSO stage, you may recognize Huangci from her previous featured performances with the ensemble. She will be performing one of the greatest piano concertos of all time, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The piece will be bookended by music from award-winning film composer Wojciech Kilar and a masterpiece by Brahms.
“We are looking forward to the return of pianist Claire Huangci,” Del Gobbo said. “She is a pianist who commands both her instrument and her art with complete mastery. She is a frequent guest of the orchestra both because her performances are exciting and she is a joy to work with. Each concert the orchestra plays is completely different. We strive throughout the season to present the widest possible selection of the orchestral repertoire.”
Prior to the concert, you can enjoy a free Season Opening Reception at 6 p.m. followed by Know the Score in Studio Theatre, an up-close discussion led by Del Gobbo about the evening’s repertoire. These are just a few of many fun, pre-concert events to enjoy at the CSO this season including dinners, receptions, parties, kids’ activities, and more. Whether it’s the free Roaring ’20’s party in April or the Valentine’s Dinner in February, you can expect to make a full night out at the symphony.
Part of the CSO’s mission is to educate and entertain future generations of concert goers by providing opportunities for the community to experience the orchestra in action. One way the CSO does this is through their Open Rehearsals; the first will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 8. Attendance is encouraged from all members of the community, including those who are unable to attend the evening concert or looking for a “behind-the-scenes” look into the ensemble. It is a great way to introduce young children to a live musical experience in a sensory-friendly environment. Continuing the tradition, this informal and all-inclusive atmosphere is breaking the financial barrier by encouraging attendees to “pay what you want.” Audience members set their own prices to eliminate hesitation and allow new viewers to partake in the music being created by the CSO in a casual setting.
Season tickets packages start at $120 for four tickets. Single tickets for Saturday’s concert are $5 to $39 and may be purchased at the RiverCenter Box Office, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. or one hour prior to the performance. Students pay $10. Tickets for children (ages 5-12) are $5. For more information, call 706.256.3612 or visit www.csoga.org.