New Rockford Symphony Season Will Have Additional Performances

Mar 27, 2018

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra will bring back some favorites and expand the number of its performances next year, including a new summer series. 

RSO Music Director Steven Larsen
Credit Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Music Director Steven Larsen said there’s something for everyone on every concert of the 2018-2019 season.

“There’s a number of very familiar pieces and there’s also a number of pieces that nobody’s heard of before,” he said. “You couple that with a couple of familiar names coming back and a couple of brand-new ones, and I think you've got a really well-balanced mixture.”

The classics season includes the world premiere of “Old War Poems,” a setting of Walt Whitman poems by American composer Michael Cunningham, and the return of acclaimed pianist Awadagin Pratt in a performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 2.

It also includes selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. Both are considered difficult pieces to perform. But Larsen said the toughest work the musicians face next season may be on a pops concert.

“Playing live for ‘Jurassic Park.’ John Williams does not write easy music,” he laughed. “And he wrote a lot of it for us, so that’s going to be a major challenge.”

The pops series also includes a program of contemporary Broadway hits, holiday pops and a concert featuring circus artists performing onstage with the musicians.

The RSO is expanding its summer schedule, with a concert showcasing stars of the Starlight Theatre and a kid’s concert that does a modern take on “Peter and the Wolf” joining its Independence Day Spectacular.

And, after a hiatus the last couple of years, the RSO will once again be in the pit for the Rockford Dance Company’s performances of The Nutcracker.