Kyle Wiley Pickett Conducting Final NSS Concert

Kyle Wiley PickettKyle Wiley Pickett, Music Director of the North State Symphony (NSS) since its inception, will conduct his final concert with the ensemble, “Harmonic Landscapes,” Saturday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Chico’s Laxson Auditorium, and Sunday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.

Works by Dvorak, Brahms and Benjamin Britten will be played, and cello soloist David Requiro is featured.

“When we combined the Chico and Redding Symphonies in 2001 and formed the North State Symphony, it was my first real conducting position after finishing my studies at the Peabody Conservatory,” said Pickett. “It’s been wonderful for me to perfect my craft here, and I am very grateful for the support and love I’ve gotten in the North State. Now it’s simply time to move on.”

Pickett was named Music Director of the symphonies in Topeka, Kansas, and Springfield, Missouri, in 2013, and moved with his wife Alice and their two children to Missouri in November.

 “While I am deeply saddened to see Kyle leave the North State Symphony,” said Chico resident and Symphony supporter Carol Berg, “I am delighted that others in the symphonic world are appreciating all that we have known about him for some time. I first met Kyle back in the early 1990s when he came to CSU, Chico as a graduate student. I have watched him grow from a gracious, articulate, intelligent, masterful conductor ­ to an even more gracious, articulate, intelligent and masterful conductor. He will continue to impress and endear himself to all who have the wonderful opportunity to work with him.”

Pickett has been recognized for increasing the quality of Symphony performances, and for the music he selects for the concerts. “Having the Symphony play both familiar and less-known works means that we can appeal to musical ‘newbies’ and dedicated classical music fans alike,” noted North State Symphony Executive Director Keith Herritt. “It takes a conductor with great abilities to appeal to as many types of people as Kyle has.”

Cello soloist David Requiro is a Bay Area native. After winning an international prize for cello performance in 1998, he has soloed with orchestras from Marin to Tokyo. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the University of Puget Sound in Washington. Requiro will perform what’s probably the most famous solo work for cello and orchestra, the “Concerto” by Antonin Dvorak, composer of the famous “New World” symphony.

Also on the program are works by English composer Benjamin Britten and Johannes Brahms.

“The works we will be performing are two of my personal favorites,” said Pickett. “Britten creates great musical picture compositions, and the ‘Sea Interludes’ are amazing. Brahms is my number one composer, and the ‘Academic Festival Overture’ hits just the right note of ‘serious celebration.’

“It may sound odd, but this concert feels to me like a graduation,” continued Pickett. “For me, but also for the North State Symphony, which has grown so much. Now the orchestra gets to show itself to new conductors.”

Beginning in the fall, four conductors who are finalists to succeed Pickett will each conduct the orchestra for one concert weekend. Audience members will be encouraged to submit their opinions of the candidates. Season tickets for the North State Symphony’s 2014-15 “Season of Discovery” concerts go on sale in May, with existing season ticket-holders able to renew their seats; new purchasers who want to buy tickets will be able to do so after renewals are processed.

Sponsors of the May 10th and 11th concerts include Stifel, Nicolaus in Chico, and Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding. Requiro’s appearance is sponsored by Connie Eccles in Chico and Dr. Stephen Cox in Redding.

Tickets for “Harmonic Landscapes” are available in Chico at the University Box Office (898-6333) and in Redding at the Cascade Theatre Box Office (243-8877).

One hour prior to each performance, Pickett will give a pre-concert talk. The Chico talk takes place in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall (Performing Arts Center 134), a short walk from Laxson Auditorium.

For more information, please go to the NSS website, www.northstatesymphony.org, or call Herritt at 898-5984.

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About the North State Symphony

The North State Symphony functions as an artists in residence program within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at California State University, Chico. The musicians of the orchestra include professionals from a wide geographic area, and community members as well as students and faculty members of CSU, Chico.

Chico State also provides extensive administrative and production support to the Symphony. Financial support also comes from the community leaders who serve on the Board of Directors, Board of Regents, and members of the music-loving communities of the region.

The origins of the North State Symphony can be traced back to 1905, when the first orchestra formed at what was then the Chico State Normal School.


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Photos: Kyle Wiley Pickett, NSS conductor, through the years.