The Verde Valley Sinfonietta with Russell Fox, conductor celebrates the close of its season with their perennial favorite Emerging Artist Concert, "A Triumphant Return" showcasing two amazingly talented young artists in a single performance on Sunday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.
This year's artists are returning pianist, Anna Han and new to Sinfonietta audiences guitarist, Eric Miller.
Anna Han, born in 1995 and hailing from Chandler, has studied with Mr. Fei Xu at New Century Conservatory since she was 5 years old and has won numerous national and international piano competitions.
She made her orchestral debut with the Chandler Symphony Orchestra in 2007 at the age of 11. Han has performed with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and became the First Prize Winner of The Sixth New York International Piano Competition in June 2012, a biennial event presented courtesy of The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation.
In addition to the cash prize, she was awarded appearances at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and future appearances through The Young Artists Series which are a roster of concerts performed throughout New York and Connecticut.
According to critic Stephen Brookes of the Washington Post "the prodigiously gifted Anna Han put on a display of imagination, taste and pianistic firepower that was far beyond her years."
This is Ms. Han's second appearance with the Verde Valley Sinfonietta. She first performed the Schumann A minor Piano Concerto with the Sinfonietta as the featured Emerging Artist in April, 2010.
Eric Miller was born in Alpena, Mich., but grew up in Detroit. Inspired by the rhythm and blues and rock and roll of the area, he began to seriously play guitar when he was 12 years old.
He began playing professionally at age 16 and performed in various venues in the Detroit area. Miller started travelling the world in the mid 90's and became enamored by the art of flamenco in Spain.
He commenced several years of disciplined study of this form of music which led him towards Brazilian music. He has toured the Southern United States and also tours with the flamenco company Arte Y Pureza, playing with the band Sir Sultry.
Today Miller has found his own voice with an interwoven cultural style that is unique unto him. A resident of Sedona and well known to local jazz audiences, his music is diverse as he continues to travel and play, collaborating with many great musicians around the world.
The concert will start off with the Overture: The Barber of Seville composed by Gioachino Rossini which premiered on February 20, 1816 in Rome and has proven to be arguably one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music.
This piece recounts the first plays from the Figaro trilogy by French playwright, Pierre Beaumarchais. Initially, it opened as a disastrous failure but following the second performance, it was noted as a roaring success and has stood the test of time as a mainstay of operatic repertoire.
The next piece in the concert, Concerto for Guitar & Strings in D major (RV93) by Antonio Vivaldi will feature Eric Miller playing guitar.
Vivaldi wrote many concertos for a variety of instruments but this piece is one of two written specifically for the guitar. It remains one of the finest examples of the medium particularly the second movement largo.
The Sinfonietta will next perform Symphony No. 35 in D major, K 385 'Haffner' by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
This piece was composed in 1782 and is also referred to as the Haffner Symphony as it was commissioned by the Haffners, a prominent Salzburg family for the occasion of Sigmund Haffner's ennoblement. This composition did not start out as a symphony but rather as a serenade to be used as the background music for the ennoblement ceremony.
Mozart rewrote parts of the original composition to create Symphony No. 35 and is played in the key of D major which Mozart used to showcase the winds for most of his symphonies.
Following the intermission, the orchestra will play Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor' by Ludwig van Beethoven showcasing the talents of Anna Han on the piano. Popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, this was Beethoven's last piano concerto.
This piece was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil.
The Emerging Artist Concert will be performed at the Sedona Performing Arts Center by the Sinfonietta.
The Center is located at the Red Rock High School at 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Reserved seats are $45 in advance or at the door. General admission tickets for adults are $20 at the door and $15 if purchased in advance. Students with current student ID are just $10.
Children aged 18 and under are free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. General admission tickets can be purchased in advance at Bashas' in West Sedona and Weber's IGA in the Village of Oak Creek.
One of the Sinfonietta's most popular Outreach Programs for children and their families, the Kids Concert Club, will take place on Thursday, May 15, at the Rock of Ages Lutheran Church. The Kids Concert Club is available to school age children and their parents.
As part of this program, a free light supper is included as well as talks and a question-and-answer period with Principal Conductor, Russell Fox and both of our featured soloists, Anna Han and Eric Miller.
Fox will then conduct the Sinfonietta in rehearsal and families may stay and enjoy the music in an informal atmosphere, as long as young attention spans permit. Contact info@VerdeValleySinfonietta.org for reservations as space is limited and reservations are required.
This year's "Soirée for the Sinfonietta" will begin 'On Stage' shortly following the concert at the Sedona Performing Arts Center. Soirée attendees will be seated in the orchestra seats on stage and enjoy a private up-close-and-personal concert featuring both of our exciting concert soloists, Anna Han and Eric Miller. Following the private performance and a Q&A with our guest artists and conductor, the Soirée will move down the hill for food and beverage at Thai Spices Natural Restaurant located at 2611 Highway 89A in Sedona.
The May 18th Soirée held immediately following the Sinfonietta's final concert of the season is a key fundraiser for the organization. Tickets for the Soirée are $75 per person and proceeds help to fund the orchestra.
To attend the full Soirée and support the Sinfonietta, call the Sinfonietta reservation line at 928-282-3066. For more information, please visit the Sinfonietta website at www.VVSinfonietta.org or visit the Sinfonietta's Facebook page and become a friend!