Midcoast Symphony Orchestra will wrap up season

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LEWISTON — Music Director Rohan Smith will conduct the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra’s last concert of the season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Franco-American Heritage Center.

The performance will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham.

Featured will be pianist Laura Kargul, an accomplished soloist and recording artist who has performed across Europe and North America, who will play Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 in E minor.

The orchestra will also present Brahms’ masterpiece Symphony No. 1 and “Javelin,” a short piece written by Michael Torke to commemorate the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

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Kargul moved to Maine 20 years ago to become director of the keyboard program at the University of Southern Maine’s School of Music and has mentored many accomplished musicians.

Known as a specialist in the romantic repertoire of the 19th century, Kargul is one of few pianists ever invited to play a solo recital on Franz Liszt’s own Bechstein piano at the Liszt-Haus in Weimar. Her solo CD, “Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano,” produced by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering, includes the rarely recorded solo piano version of Ravel’s “La Valse,” and the world premiere recording of excerpts from Ravel’s solo piano arrangement of “Daphnis and Chloe.”

Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 for piano is extraordinarily virtuosic, not surprising given that Chopin wrote it to showcase his own formidable talents. It’s considered a brilliant and beautiful piece.

“Javelin” is a joyous and sweepingly romantic piece that conjures the patriotism and celebration of the Olympics. It is an accessible piece that moves rapidly and melodically in its musical depiction of a javelin in flight.

Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, which took the composer more than 20 years to complete, is well-known and well-loved by symphony audiences.

Tickets are $15, students 18 and younger admitted free. For tickets, call 846-5378, log on to www.midcoastsymphony.org or visit Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, Magnolia in Bath or the Franco center. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

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