Steven Moeckel, the well-known principal violinist of the Phoenix Symphony will be performing with the orchestra at their next concert in Prescott, on Sunday, Oct. 23. He will be playing the Violin Concerto by Samuel Barber.
Moeckel’s musical career began early. From the age of 11 he toured as principal soprano soloist with the renowned Vienna Boys Choir. He studied violin at the Moarteum in Salzburg, graduating with honors at nineteen years old, immediately becoming Co-Concertmaster of Germany’s Ulm Philharmonic. Since his return to the United States, Moeckel has continued to combine a career as Phoenix Symphony concertmaster with that of soloist and chamber artist. His effortless virtuosity, vivid characterization and uncanny ability to capture the very essence of a work have been hailed by critics worldwide. His ability to engage audiences in an astounding range of repertoire distinguishes him as one of the most versatile young musicians of today.
Moeckel will be performing Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, composed in 1939. Samuel S. Fels, a Philadelphia industrialist/philanthropist, asked Barber to compose a piece for violin and orchestra for his ward, violinist Iso Briselli. Barber was to be paid $1,000 – half up front and the remainder upon completion. The composer gave Briselli the first two movements, which were well received. However, when Briselli received the third movement he was disappointed, feeling it was not substantial enough. The piece was eventually premiered in 1941 by another artist to a great reception and has been highly recognized ever since. But Barber only received the first $500.
The Symphony’s Music Director Tito Munoz will be leading the orchestra for two other pieces – Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 and Canto by Adam Schoenberg.
Symphony No. 7 is one of Shostakovich’s most well-known pieces, written in 1939-40. He dedicated it to the citizens of Leningrad, and it is viewed as a symbol of resistance to Nazi totalitarianism. It is often played at the Leningrad Cemetery, where victims of the 900-day Siege of Leningrad are buried.
Adam Schoenberg wrote Canto in 2014 for his son, who at that time was six months old. He considers it “a lullaby that emerges from a chant.”
“The Yavapai Symphony Association is extremely proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary this year,” said David Dunn, president of the Association, which is responsible for bringing Phoenix Symphony concerts to Prescott. “Steven Moeckel is the orchestra concertmaster, so Prescott audiences have watched him perform with the orchestra over the years. It will be exciting to see him perform as a soloist.”
This season there is no increase in ticket prices. A limited number of tickets for this performance, priced from $28 to $39, are available only from the Yavapai Symphony Association. YSA’s Office, at 228 N. Alarcon St., is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday and the Friday before each Sunday concert for patrons wishing to purchase tickets in person. Tickets also may be purchased by phone, 928-776-4255, for pick up at will call at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center beginning at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the concert.
The concert begins at 3 p.m. with a pre-concert lecture about the performance starting at 2 p.m. Full-time college students can purchase any available ticket for only $10.
More information about the Yavapai Symphony Association is available at www.yavapaisymphony.org.