PORTLAND – “Rites and Rhythms,” a concert featuring the Portland Symphony Orchestra with African drumming and dancing, will bring PSO Music Director Robert Moody’s inaugural season to a close Tuesday, June 9, at Merrill Auditorium.
The performance opens with Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Widely considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, Bartók was an accomplished pianist from a very young age. Concerto for Orchestra was the composer’s final completed work and combines elements of Western classical and Europeam folk music. The piece is called a concerto rather than a symphony because each section of instruments is treated in a soloistic and virtuosic way.
The headlining piece of the evening, James DeMars’ Sabar: Concerto for Senegalese Drums & Orchestra, was composed in 2000 on a commission from the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. It was first performed by that orchestra under Moody’s direction in 2001. Guest drummers Mark Sunkett, Sonya Branch, Medoune Gueye and Abdou Kounta, as well as an ensemble of traditional Senegalese dancers, will join the symphony for this piece.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ranging from $17 to $65 may be purchased through PortTix at 842-0800 or www.porttix.com.; or at the box office at 20 Myrtle St. from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.portlandsymphony.com.
A radio broadcast of the performance can be heard at 8 p.m. July 29 on Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

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