Two soloists – one already acclaimed and the other a rising talent in music – will be the featured performers when the Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra plays its season-opening concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Dunn Center.
Nate Leyland will join the philharmonic for the performance of “Cello Concert in B minor, Opus 104” by Antonin Dvorak.
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Leyland brings to the concert wide experience from performances with other ensembles across the state, including the N.C. Symphony, Carolina Ballet, N.C. Opera, N.C. Master Chorale and the Choral Society of Durham, a release says. He holds the principal cellist chair for the Tar River Philharmonic, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Carolina Philharmonic.
His musical career also includes study and performances with orchestras in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Connecticut and New York.
The rising soloist is pianist Christopher Tavernier of Henderson, the winner of the Tar River Orchestra and Chorus’ Young Artist Competition. He will perform the “Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
“Perhaps more impressive than Christopher’s musicianship is his age; Christopher is 13 years old and a seventh-grader at Henderson Middle School,” the release says. “Christopher is facing a celebrated career as a musician, and he will be able to claim Rocky Mount as one of his important starting points.”
Leading the concert will be Dr. Al Sturgis, the philharmonic’s longtime conductor, who brings his own acclaim to the stage. Sturgis also conducts the Tar River Chorus and serves as the principal conductor of the Carolina Ballet and as music director of the N.C. Master Chorale. He also has been a guest conductor for the Raleigh Civic and Winston-Salem symphonies and other ensembles across the state.
In addition to the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky works, the philharmonic will perform the “Entrance of the Gladiators,” the Julius Fucik work famously used by circuses around the world to call crowds to the big top, and “The Moldau (Vltava)” from “Mein Vaterland” by Friedrich Smetana, the release says.
The performance kicks off the Tar River Orchestra and Chorus’ 2013-14 season. The ensembles’ other performances are:
- Nov. 15 – Tar River Symphonic Band. The program includes “Nimrod” from “Enigma Variations” by Edward Elgar and “Mars” from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst.
- Dec. 6 –Tar River Children’s Chorus and Strings. The program includes “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by John Rox; “There Is No Rose” from “Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten; and “12 Days of Christmas,” an English traditional carol arranged by John Rutter.
- Feb. 28 – Tar River Symphonic Band.
- April 5 – Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus and Children’s Chorus and The Salvation and Deliverance Church Choir.
- April 17 – Tar River Swing Band.
All of the performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and are at the Dunn Center, except for the Dec. 6 children’s concert, which will be held at First Baptist Church, 200 S. Church St.
Season tickets for the series are $65. Tickets for individual concerts are $13; students younger than 18 are admitted free with an ID.
Leyland began his cello studies in public schools at age 9, another release says. His cello teachers include Richard Bell, associate principal cellist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio; Laura Kane, former principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in Hartford, Conn.; and Nathaniel Rosen, a Tchaikovsky Competition gold medalist, at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
He began his professional career at age 20 as the cellist of the Pioneer String Quartet and as principal cellist of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. His soloist performances also include concerts with the Hartford Symphony, Manchester Symphony Orchestra, Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Welsh Hills Chamber Orchestra.
Christopher’s rising talent as a pianist is matched by his excellence in the classroom. In addition to winning the Young Artist Competition, he has earned membership in the National Junior Beta Club, which recognizes character and academic achievement; was selected for his school’s academically and intellectually gifted programs in math and reading; was selected for the Duke University Talent Identification Program; and was nominated to attend the National Young Scholars Program.
He plans to enroll in the Blue Ridge Early College Program as a ninth-grader so he can continue to develop his academic and musical studies under the guidance of Dr. Kevin Ayesh.
“Christopher’s first love is the piano, and he is now realizing his dream of being a great concert pianist,” the release says.
For concert details, go to tarriverloveitlive.com.