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Date: May 31 2024

Time: 8:00 pm

Cost: $5.00 – $30.00


St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
620 Romeo Rd
Rochester, MI 48307

May 31 8:00 pm 10:00 pm

Celebrate the evening of Friday, May 31, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. with The Rochester Symphony Orchestra (RSO) directed by Conductor and Music Director Zeljko Milicevic. Don’t miss this tribute to the “Grand Canyon Suite” by Ferde Grofé and the performance of the Young Artist Competition winner, Violinist Matthew Xu.  The Symphony will perform at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 620 Romeo Road, Rochester, Michigan.

The evening begins with “Carnival Overture” by Antonín Dvořák. The “Carnival Overture” was written in 1891, by which time Dvořák was among central Europe’s most respected composers and the year before he began a two-year sojourn in America as Director of the National Conservatory. It was the second of a three-overture cycle, “Nature, Life, and Love.” Life (Carnival), as it was originally called, portrayed life as a vast carnival, full of noisy crowds, vendors, barkers, and even “a pair of straying lovers,” as the composer put it.

The three overtures were premiered together in Prague in Spring of 1892, and Carnival was played again six months later in Carnegie Hall, when Dvořák introduced himself to American audiences in a huge concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of America. So it was with this piece that America discovered Dvořák, and vice versa, and it was with this piece that a beautiful friendship between Dvořák and his new world began. 

The “Moldau”, is a symphonic poem that evokes the flow of the Vltava River or, in German, the Moldau from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. “The Moldau’s” composer, Bedřich Smetana, born 1824 in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic was a composer of operas and symphonic poems, founder of the Czech national school of music. He was the first truly important Bohemian nationalist composer. 

A devoutly patriotic work, “The Moldau” captures in music Smetana’s love of his homeland. Completed in 1874 and first performed the following year, the piece constitutes the second movement of a six-movement suite, “Má vlast” (My Country), which premiered in its entirety in Prague on November 5, 1882.

Smetana conceived of a series of orchestral pieces with topics drawn from the legends and landscapes of his homeland, what he called “musical pictures of Czech glories and defeats.” It took the better part of the 1870s for the composer to bring the idea to full completion as Má vlastMá vlast ultimately became Smetana’s most enduring composition, and of its movements, the second, “The Moldau”, has remained the most popular. 

Music written about the Grand Canyon contains many themes, including songs celebrating the nature and wildlife of the area. However, one of the most famous and enduring pieces of music inspired by the Grand Canyon is Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” composed between 1929 and 1931 fifteen years after his first glimpse of the Canyon in 1916.

Grofé gained experience working with some of the premier composers in American music in the 1920s, including George Gershwin. This work is representative of the flowering musical scene of the early 20th century in which American composers experimented with combining various old and new musical forms to establish a uniquely American sound. Being familiar with every instrument in the orchestra, Grofé used them to mimic the sounds of nature he heard at the Canyon. Many of his works focused on using music to create moods reflective of natural landscape features.

It was initially titled “Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon”. It consists of five movements, each an evocation in tone of a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon. The five “pictures” or movements are Sunrise, Painted Desert, On the Trail, Sunset, and Cloudburst. 

The Grand Canyon inspires a rainbow of emotions and reactions in visitors. Some reach for their pens in an attempt to describe its impact using words; others grab their paintbrushes to try to capture its impressions visually. For others, the magic and majesty of the landscape and its inhabitants is best conveyed musically. 

In 2000, National Public Radio named Grand Canyon Suite one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.

This amazingly beautiful concert will be performed on Friday, May 31,2024 at 8:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 620 Romeo Road, Rochester, Michigan.  

Tickets are $30 for Adults and $5 for Students and can be purchased at 248-651-4181


Featuring: Young Artist Competition Winner


May 31
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
$5.00 – $30.00

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

620 Romeo Rd
Rochester, MI 48307 United States
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