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Phoenix Symphony to celebrate Americana on Sunday

Chu-Fang Huang

Chu-Fang Huang

The Phoenix Symphony will pay tribute to three iconic American composers on Sunday, Oct. 26, when the orchestra celebrates the music of Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland at the symphony's second Prescott concert of the 2014-15 season at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.

The symphony will be performing two pieces by Bernstein, including the "Overture to Candide," which he wrote in 1957. It quickly became popular and has become one of the most frequently performed orchestral compositions by a 20th century American composer. The symphony's second Bernstein piece, "On the Town: Three Dance Episodes," quickly became popular and was an instant success.

Gershwin actually composed "Rhapsody in Blue" while traveling on a train between New York and Boston. Pianist Chu-Fang Huang will be the guest soloist with the symphony for this piece.

Huang came onto the music scene as a finalist in the 2005 Van Cliburn Piano Competition and also won first prize at the Cleveland Piano Competition that same year. She began piano lessons at the age of 7 and had her U.S. debut when she was 15.

The "Rhapsody" will be followed by another popular Gershwin piece, "An American in Paris," which he wrote in 1928, evoking the sights and energy of the French capital and inspired by the time he had spent there. It is one of Gershwin's best known compositions.

Guest conductor at Sunday's performance will be Randall Craig Fleischer, who actually studied with Leonard Bernstein as a conducting fellow in 1989. He is the music director for three different symphony orchestras.

Sunday's concert begins at 3 p.m. with a pre-concert lecture about the performance starting at 2 p.m. Tickets for the concert, ranging in price 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. Call 928-776-4255 to buy tickets or for more info.

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