By Allie Zaleski
The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra opened its season with a Gershwin Gala, which delighted music lovers young and old with timeless melodies. The gala was held at the Berglund Center in downtown Roanoke on Oct. 10. David Steward Wiley was back for his 20th season as conductor, and was especially delighted to welcome back pianist Norman Krieger.
Some of Gershwin’s most beloved works were performed enthusiastically by the orchestra. Wiley introduced each piece as if he were introducing a close friend, which excited the audience and pulled them into the performance.
“An American in Paris” was the most triumphant pieces of the night, transporting to audience to the busy, hectic streets of Paris. If there was any question about whether or not a trip to Paris was in the cards, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra could certainly seal the deal.
Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F” was another excellent piece, as Krieger played through the audibly complicated piece excellently. The chemistry between Krieger and Wiley was a delight as well, as they both supported each other as they cheered one another on and even played together.
One of the most unexpected and special surprises of the night was the performance of Gershwin’s “Lullaby.” The piece is rarely performed live, but the sensation of the lilting melodies and the soft, almost lyrical harmonies was a treat to listen to. Far from putting one asleep, the “Lullaby” seemed to be made of the essence of dreams, reminding one of those dreams that are on the very verge of sleep, when they seem real and wonderful.
Krieger and Wiley dueled once again on the pianos for an encore which created a genius collaboration. It was the perfect end to a stunning opening night for the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, promising more fabulous performances to come.
For more information about events and student ticket prices about the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, www.rso.com.