North State Symphony to Present "Beauty Rising,"
February 19 in Redding and Februay 20 in Chico

Venus Rising art workThe The North State Symphony will perform its first concert of 2011, Beauty Rising, Saturday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Redding’s Cascade Theatre, and Sunday, February 20 at 2 p.m. at Chico’s Laxson Auditorium.

Beauty Rising will feature classical and neo-classical works. Molly Mahoney, vocalist, and Anthoni Polcari, cellist, winners of the Symphony's 2010 Young Artist Audition contest, will both perform.

"Classical music is what we do, but in this case the word 'classical' refers to the 18th Century, the era of Haydn and Mozart,” aid NSS conductor/music director Kyle Wiley Pickett. “Neo-classical is the word we use when a later composer is inspired by classical style. It's all about beautiful, lively music and some beautiful thoughts and images that go along with it."

From the 18th-century Haydn's Symphony No. 88, and a movement from his Cello Concerto in C Major (featuring Polcari), will be played. Three 20th century works add flavors of the recent past to the older offerings; Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks; Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne, set 3 (featuring Mahoney), and Respighi's Botticelli Pictures.

Mahoney, first place winner in the College/University Division of the 2010 NSS Young Artist Auditions, is a mezzo-soprano who grew up in Chico. She is a graduate of CSU, Chico and received her MA in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2010. Mahoney's background in musical theatre, opera, and big band will be familiar to audiences who heard her locally, in performances ranging from Carmen, produced by the CSU, Chico Opera Workshop, to popular standards of the big band era when she has sung with the Skyliners band. She is currently performing as Cinderella with the San Francisco Opera Guild, and sings regularly in the Bay Area with the George Cole Quintet.

Mahoney will sing four sultry songs from Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne,

“These are songs from a sun-baked region in southern France, an area like Tuscany,” said Pickett. “The composer marries the folk-songs with a gorgeous orchestral accompaniment."

Redding's Anthoni Polcari, who placed first in the High School competition, will perform the first movement of Haydn's charming C Major Cello concerto.

Polcari has been playing the cello for 16 years. He has performed with the All State Symphony Orchestra (for advanced high school players from around California) and served as principal cello of the Interlochen Philharmonic in 2009. Polcari currently performs with the North State Symphony and was principal cellist for the Simpson Sinfonia. He also plays bass with several jazz ensembles.

The title of the concert, Beauty Rising, comes from the Respighi's work, Botticelli Pictures. Botticelli Pictures was inspired by Botticelli’s famous iconic paintings, including Venus Rising, which shows the goddess Venus rising from the sea.

“We wanted to capture the image of musical beauty rising, too, and spreading out over the audience like sunshine," said Pickett.

The painting Venus Rising, which inspired Respighi's music, is reproduced on the symphony's concert posters and website,”

Adult tickets for the concerts begin at $20 for economy seats, and general tickets are $27. Premium tickets are $48 in Redding, $32 in Chico. Student and senior ticket prices are also available for both concerts. Purchase tickets for the Redding performance at the Cascade Theatre Box Office, 243-8877. For the Chico concert, tickets are sold at the University Box Office, 898-6333.

The Redding concert is sponsored by Dr. Pamela Ikuta and Dr. Jeff Price, and the Chico concert is sponsored by Rabobank. The Symphony expressed its appreciation to the sponsors, saying "support from businesses and individuals is essential to our existence, and a great signal of the importance of community in the North State."

Other concert sponsors include CSU, Chico’s Department of Music and School of the Arts.

After Chico's concert, the audience is invited to extend the day with the symphony at Monks Wine Lounge. A special wine tasting and appetizer fundraiser will be held to benefit the North State Symphony.

The North State Symphony continues its support of youth programs in the arts community with the 2011 Young Artist Auditions, which will take place on February 13, one week prior to the concert. This event, free and open to the public, begins at noon in the Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall at CSU, Chico. Talented young musicians from across the north state participate for the chance to win cash awards and perform on stage with the North State Symphony next season. For more information call 898-5984.