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KSO to close 2017-18 season with ‘Rhapsody in Blue’

May 15, 2018

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will end the 2017-18 season with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” part of the KSO Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series, on Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. These performances are sponsored by Brogan Financial-Retirement & Legacy Planning. Tickets start at $15, and are available online.

Musical selections include Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Florence Price’s Piano Concerto and Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3.

Pianist Michelle Cann

“This program is a showcase of the greatest symphonic music in American musical vernacular, KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian said. “It features Copland’s majestic Third Symphony, which is considered by many to be the “Great American Symphony,” with its poignant allusion to the ‘Fanfare to the Common Man.’ Continuing the theme of American music, the program also includes George Gershwin’s beloved Rhapsody in Blue, arguably the most recognizable piece of American music ever written. Pianist Michelle Cann will perform not only one but two piano concerti. Rhapsody in Blue will be followed by Florence Price’s “Concerto in One Movement.”

Florence Price was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer.

“We open the program with Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide in hopes we can whet the audience’s appetite with this fun and recognizable selection in anticipation of the full operetta production in collaboration with the Clarence Brown Theatre,” Demirjian said. “This joint production is made possible by a generous grant from the Roy Cockrum Foundation and will take place Aug 31-Sept 17, 2018. This is the Centennial Celebration for Leonard Bernstein, as 2018 marks his would-be 100th birthday.”

Tickets may be purchased by calling 865-291-3310 or visiting the KSO website. Single tickets range from $15-$88.00. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate by calling 865-521-2337.

Patrons can attend pre-concert chats at 6:30 p.m. in the concert hall before each performance. Guest performers will offer their personal perspective and audience members will have a chance for a Q&A session with the artists. This is a unique get-to-know-you opportunity.

Demirjian is currently serving as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra after a four-year stint as Associate Conductor at the Kansas City Symphony. Demirjian is a recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award in 2017 and holds the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a three-time Conducting Fellow in the Aspen Conducting Academy. Demirjian holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and government from Harvard University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory.

Cann began the piano at age 7, but soon added organ, steel drums, trombone, tuba and violin. Her primary focus on the piano earned her top prizes in state, national and international competitions, including the International Russian Piano Music Competition, the Blount Young Artists National Competition and, most recently, the 2014 Wideman International Piano Competition. She performed the New York City premiere of Concerto in One Movement by Price.

Cann received her bachelor and master degrees in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and received an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She served as one of three Curtis Institute of Music inaugural fellows of “ArtistYear.” Through that one-year fellowship, Cann worked with local community partners such as City Year, Teach for America and AmeriCorps to bring the arts to local Philadelphia communities where arts education and access are unattainable.

About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Established in 1935, and now under the leadership of Music Director Aram Demirjian, the KSO has contributed to the cultural life in East Tennessee continuously for more than 80 years, providing excellence in musical and educational programs. The Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 300 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and the Civic Auditorium as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks and churches. For more information regarding the KSO, please visit or call 865-291-3310.