Beethoven's Belated 250th Birthday

March 14, 2021 at 3 p.m. Chicago Time in the Civic Auditorium

Address: 1001 Ridge St., LaPorte, IN 46350

This concert, which has been re-scheduled from last March, will feature our 6th and final Music Director Candidate, Dr. Wilbur Lin. We will be belatedly celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Birthday with a performance of his Symphony No. 7. Joining us on this concert is LCSO favorite, pianist Carey Scheck. Carey will join Dr. Lin and the LCSO in a performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Please note this concert has been moved from the Holdcraft Performing Arts Center to the Civic Auditorium in La Porte.

Featured Artists

Recently appointed to assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, Wilbur Lin will be serving as the assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras in addition to continuing his work as the artistic director of the summer seasons of the Chamber Philharmonic Taipei.

Lin began his musical education at the age of five. In 2008, the Taiwanese-American conductor founded a student orchestra, the Chamber Philharmonic Taipei, which is now a professional chamber orchestra with an active annual summer season funded by both the Arts Council of Taipei and the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture.

Lin briefly worked as assistant conductor at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Taiwan Symphony orchestras. He regularly works with Chamber Philharmonic Taipei and has conducted the Manchester Camerata, MAV Symphony Orchestra (Budapest), Taipei Philharmonic, Taiwan Symphony, Orquestra de Cadaqués (Spain), Missouri Symphony, and Windsor Symphony (Canada) orchestras. As a pianist, Lin coached and performed with the Indianapolis Opera, IU Opera Theater, and Reimagining Opera for Kids, in addition to his freelance work as a vocal coach and collaborator.

A recent graduate of Riccardo Muti’s Italian Opera Academy, Lin’s recent highlights include conducting Verdi’s Macbeth at Teatro Alighieri (Ravenna, Italy), Die Zauberflöte with the Winter Harbor Festival & Opera (Winter Harbor, Maine), and an appearance with Canada’s Windsor Symphony Orchestra, guest conducting El Salvador’s National Youth Orchestra, and the conclusion of Chamber Philharmonic Taipei’s seventh concert in its Bach Cantata Series.

Lin held the position of Lord Rhodes Scholar from 2013 to 2014, was a two-time recipient of Mortimer Furber Prize for Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), and holds a doctoral degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Lin has studied with Arthur Fagen and David Effron at IU, Clark Rundell and Mark Heron at RNCM, and Apo Hsu at National Taiwan Normal University. He has also received conducting coaching with Riccardo Muti, Sir Mark Elder, Vasily Petrenko, Juanjo Mena, Jac van Steen, Mark Stringer, Paul McCreesh, and Helmuth Rilling.

La Porte’s own Carey Scheck is a Music Teacher in the La Porte Community School Corporation, and a graduate of Valparaiso University and Western Illinois University with degrees in Piano Performance. Carey will be performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the LCSO.

Carey’s appearance is sponsored by:
Alan & Kathleen Lang
Leigh & Marcia Morris
Bert & Adi Veenendaal

Program

  • Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue- Carey Scheck, Piano Soloist

George Gershwin (1898-1937), the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, began his music career in 1914 as a song plugger for Jerome H. Remick & Co., a music publishing firm on Tin Pan Alley. Earning $15 a week, Gershwin would play and sing the firm’s songs to entice buyers. By 1926, he had become a skilled improvisor and accompanist, cutting more than 100 piano rolls. In 1917, Gershwin left Remick & Co. for Broadway, and a series of theatrical successes followed.

On January 4, 1924, Ira Gershwin showed George a news report in the New York Tribune about a concert put together by jazz bandleader Paul Whiteman that would endeavor to
trace the history of jazz which he titled “An Experiment in Modern Music.” The report concluded with a brief announcement: “George Gershwin is at work on a
jazz concerto.” This was news to Gershwin, who was then in rehearsals for a Broadway show, Sweet Little Devil. Gershwin
contacted Whiteman to refute the Tribune article, but Whiteman eventually convinced Gershwin to agree to the job – only after
winning a few concessions: he would write a rhapsody, not a full-length concerto, and the orchestration of the work would be completed by Whiteman’s
staff arranger, Ferde Grofé.  A mere three weeks after agreeing, he handed the score, originally for two pianos, to Grofé,
who completed an arrangement for solo piano and jazz band for the premiere concert. In 1926, Grofé re-orchestrated the work for piano soloist and full symphony orchestra.

Gershwin was at the piano when Rhapsody in Blue premiered at Aeolian Hall in New York on February 12, 1924. Gershwin’s phenomenal talent as a pianist wowed the audience as much as the novelty of jazz stylings in a “classical” piece of music. The original opening clarinet solo got its trademark jazzy glissando from Whiteman’s clarinetist Ross Gorman, performed at first as a joke (Gershwin had written out a seventeen-note scale). It is now one of the most famous clarinet solos in the orchestral repertory. Gershwin described the overall work as a “a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America—of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness.”

Rhapsody in Blue occupies a special place in American music: it introduced jazz to classical concert audiences, and simultaneously instantly transformed the 25-year-old songwriter from Tin Pan Alley into a composer of “serious” music. Following its success, he devoted more of his energy toward concert music, though he never ceased composing musical theater, songs in collaboration with Ira Gershwin, and Hollywood scores. By the age of 30, he was one of America’s most famous and well-paid composers. He died tragically at the age of 38 from a brain tumor.

  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed his Symphony No. 7 during one of the most painful periods of his life. His deafness, attributable to arterial disease, was growing worse daily. His deep love affair with Theresa Brunswick had collapsed. (He had no success in romance during his lifetime… it was said that he proposed to sixteen women who all turned him down.) He needed money. Despite all of this, he drove into one of the most creative periods of his lifetime, and created his boisterous, intense, energetic, and tuneful “Grand Symphony in A” as he called it. 

Beethoven referred to his Symphony No. 7 as “one of my most excellent works” when writing to Johann Peter Salomon, asking him to use his good offices with a London publisher to
sell a group of his works there.
He completed his Opus 92 in 1812, when Napoleon was beginning to fail in his conquests. Celebrating this turn of events, the Seventh Symphony premiered at a concert in Vienna on December 8, 1813, to benefit troops wounded in the Battle of Hanau, a small but tactical victory on October 31, 1813, which routed Napoleon into a retreat in the War of the Sixth Coalition. The new symphony contained difficulties that the violin section declared “unperformable” during rehearsals; Beethoven persuaded the players to take the music home and practice overnight, a concession almost unheard of at the time. At the premiere, the audience was pleased and demanded that the second of the four movements be repeated. Beethoven, who was conducting, was energized, and it was reported in his autobiography that “as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with great vehemence asunder… at the entrance of a forte he jumped into the air.”  A consistent rhythmic drive was intoxicating and stimulating. Antony Hopkins in The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven noted, “The Seventh Symphony, perhaps more than any of the others, gives us a feeling of true spontaneity—the notes seem to fly off the page as we are born along on a floodtide of inspired invention.

Note: Cover Ads for this event are sold out.