The definition of a concerto is a musical composition of three movements where one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra, especially one conceived on a relatively large scale.
Famed classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven produced five piano concertos, with Piano Concerto No. 3, op. 37 being one of his most beloved by audiences. Its spirited vibrant first movement transitions into a slower tempo within its second, with its third and final the very definition of its tempo, rondo allegro: music returning from the beginning of the piece that is fast and vivacious.
“The third movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is one of the most exciting and fiery of movements to be found among Beethoven’s five piano concertos,” said Patrick Clark, founder and artistic director of the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra.
Audiences will be able to hear “Piano Concerto No. 3, op 37, III” as part of “Odyssey’s Baroque Concerto: Encore” program, which will be Feb. 15 in Columbia and Feb. 16 in Jefferson City.
This is the second year the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra has partnered with the Odyssey Chamber Music Series, directed by Ayako Tsuruta, performing interesting pieces but also featuring the winner of Odyssey’s Pre-collegiate Concerto Competition, which is also in its second year.
“Ayako Tsuruta’s work in building the Odyssey Chamber Music Series is a model for me in building our own Southside Philharmonic Chamber Music Series here in Jefferson City. It is a great honor to me to be invited to partner with Ayako and Odyssey to present these concerts,” Clark said. “This opportunity also allows SPO to continue pursuing one of its important missions: promoting youth excellence in the musical arts by participating in the Odyssey Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition.”
This year’s Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition included 13 contestants vying for the opportunity to win and perform one movement of a baroque or classical concerto with the Odyssey Chamber Ensemble in two public performances. Judges Judith Shaw, a piano instructor and collaborative artists at Columbia College, and Erik Hassell, an accomplished violinist and teacher, were the judges. Five pianists, five violins and two cellists competed, with 18-year-old pianist Henry Huang securing victory.
Huang, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, studies piano with Dr. Peter Miyamoto. He has won numerous competitions and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Kauffman Center of Performing Arts, among other accolades.
Huang will perform Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3, op 37, III,” which he prepared for the Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition. Often young pianists prepare concertos strictly with another piano accompaniment, however Huang will be able to perform the concerto as Beethoven first did in 1803 in Vienna.
“The preparation of a concerto itself with their teacher is a very detailed process, a more detailed process than any other musical goal. … They then confront the competition itself, having their one opportunity to play the piece in front of judges,” Clark said. “Now, performing this concerto with an orchestra is yet another level.”
“Just the thrill of the whole as it was originally conceived, to have a soloist and an orchestra. … What an experience for a musician, especially someone so young.”
In addition to Huang’s performance, Katie Smyth, piccolo soloist will be featured in Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Piccolo in C Major, RV 443,” and R. Paul Crabb and the Bach Collegium Choir will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “HimmelsKönig sei willkommen, BWV 182.” Clark said R. Paul Crabb is a notable scholar of Baroque vocal music and works with 24 MU School of Music singers who comprise the Bach Collegium Choir.
The Odyssey Chamber Music Series first performance is at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at First Baptist Church in Columbia. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for students and free for children 12 and younger. The second program is at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Central United Church of Christ, 118 W. Ashley St. Tickets to that performance are $10 for general admission, $5 for students and free for children 12 and younger. All tickets are available at the door.
For more information, visit SouthsidePhilharmonic.org or OdysseyMissouri.org.