"The Ultimate Piano" concert on Sunday will be a dream come true for Prescott POPS Symphony music director Paul Manz.
"This concert is very special to me because it not only brings back International Steinway Artist James D'Leon, but it also includes 'Metamorphic Symphony' by Paul Hindemeth, which is a piece I've dreamed of conducting," Manz said.
The concert is 3 p.m. in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $24 for adults and $5 for youths. Call 776-2000 or stop by YCPAC the box office, 1100 E. Sheldon St.
The concert will present music from the film, "Jaws," featuring the original version of the music by John Williams. First is the movie's theme, second is "Out to Sea," and last, "The Shark Cage Fugue." Manz will conduct the symphony for these selections.
D'Leon will perform "Piano Concerto No. 2," by Rachmaninoff. The concerto will be directed by David Cripps, formerly of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Selections from "The King and I" will also be on the program, including "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "March of the Siamese Children," "Getting to Know You," "Shall We Dance," and "We Kiss in the Shadow." Manz will also conduct this segment of the concert.
"The Metamorphic Symphony" is on Manz's "bucket list," he said. "It is one of my all-time favorite selections. This mini-symphony has served as the inspiration for many film scores. It is very fiery and brilliant," said Manz, who will conduct this piece.
D'Leon began the piano at the age of 4. He was born in South Korea into a musical family and gave his first solo recital when he was 5 years old. He graduated summa cum laude from Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia. He then earned a fellowship to the Eastman School of Music in New York, where he received a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance and literature.
His performance career has earned him praise in many international competitions, and in 2009, he was selected as International Steinway Concert Artist.
Cripps is a British-born conductor, hornist and teacher. He began playing horn at the age of 14 and was accepted into the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He has also had positions in such acclaimed orchestras as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Hallé Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also played lead horn in the "Star Wars" and "Superman" movies with the London Symphony Orchestra. He is now conductor of Orchestra Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
Manz has been a Prescott resident since 1965. He received his bachelor of music education and master's in orchestral conducting from Northern Arizona University. He taught instrumental music in Prescott schools, including Yavapai College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, for 30 years. He served as the principal horn in the Flagstaff Symphony and has performed in the pit of numerous Prescott Center for the Arts productions. Manz is the founding conductor of the Prescott POPS Symphony.