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November 09, 2015

Pianist makes U.S. debut in Sheboygan

After 96-plus seasons, it’s nice to know that the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra is still coming up with new experiences for the community.

Ana S. DSC 0190Critically acclaimed Slovenian pianist Ana Šinkovec Burstin will make her American debut with the SSO at its Nov. 14 concert, the second of the 2015-16 season. The 7:30 p.m. performance is at the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Sheboygan. To purchase tickets, contact the Sheboygan Symphony office at (920) 452-1985.

Šinkovec Burstin will headline a program featuring an interesting mix of music from several eras of the classical repertoire. She will be the featured soloist with the SSO in one of the genre’s best known concertos, Tchaikovsky’s grand Piano Concerto No. 1. Music of J.S. Bach and Jean Sibelius is also programmed.

SSO Music Director and Conductor Kevin McMahon saw Šinkovec Burstin perform with the Slovenian Philharmonic on a televised concert in Europe and was immediately drawn in.Kevin Brochure

“I was blown away by her performance and her connection with the conductor and orchestra,” he said. “For Sheboygan to present this fine young artist in her first performance in this country is something special. I’m really happy we have something here in Sheboygan we can call our own.”

Šinkovec Burstin has won prizes in Germany, France, Slovenia and Italy, including First Prize at the 2000 Nikoli Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Paris. In 2004, she was awarded the Presenren Prize, the highest Slovenian award for Achievements in Culture, by the country's Academy of Music.

Following her U.S. debut in Sheboygan, she’ll perform a solo recital in Washington's Kennedy Centre. She has participated in many festivals across Europe, including the Chopin Marathon in Italy and Sweden, the inaugural Gilels Festival in Freiburg, the Mahler Festival in Toblach, the Nice Summer Festival, and the Ljubljana Nights festival.

Šinkovec Burstin also teaches piano, string, wind, brass, percussion and voice, and holds five master’s degrees from conservatoires in Ljubljana, Brussels, Bergamo and Paris for both piano and translation studies in English and French. In 2012 Ana gave a Tedx talk on Powerful connection: Music and the Mind available on YouTube.

The order of the program for this concert is a bit non-traditional. While concertos are often performed prior to intermission, the Tchaikovsky will come after intermission. Opening the concert will be a Baroque-era staple, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 by J.S. Bach, and it will feature just seven members of the orchestra.

The middle of the program features two works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius – “The Swan of Tuonela,” followed by his Symphony No. 7. McMahon said the programming allows for the number of musicians on stage to slowly grow with each work.

“Even for people who are relative novices to this music, this order will be appealing,” McMahon said. “The Sibelius could be challenging for a lot of people, but these are great works that are important for the growth of our audience.”

“The Swan of Tuonela” is a lush, 12-minute tone poem rooted in the Kalevala, the national folk of epic of Finland. Tuonela is the Hades of Finnish mythology, and this work, which will feature some of the principal string players of the SSO, portrays a beautiful swan gliding along the black waters of the underworld. The piece is regarded by some as the first masterwork by Sibelius, who will have the 150thanniversary of the birth celebrated on Dec. 8.

In his Seventh, Sibelius blends the traditional four-movement symphony structure into one movement performed without pause. It includes some longer trombone solos which will spotlight SSO principal trombone Jason Sebranek. McMahon said the work is significant because it reshapes traditional symphonic form.
“Sibelius has taken the history of the symphony and transformed it into something different,” McMahon said. “It’s really quite unique among all symphonies.”

A surprise encore is planned, and McMahon said it’s a work that’s sure to have the audience marching out of the Weill Center.

Tickets are available for the October 3rd concert. Ticket prices are $39, $35, $30 and $15 for students. Tickets are available from the Symphony Office at 920- 452-1985 or the Weill Center ticket office at 920-208-3243. Tickets are also available in the box office two hours prior to concert.

The Interludes Pre-Concert talk, held at 806 N. 8th Street, is a free event for concert ticket holders. Space is limited, an R.S.V.P. is required. For more information contact vicki@sheboygansymphony.org or call 920-452-1985.

This concert is generously sponsored by Bank First National.

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