Lincolnwood orchestra presents Bulgarian classics
Orchestra: Bulgarian and American Music
Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie
7 p.m. June 30
Tickets are $15
At the box office, at (847) 677-7761, or through www.gorillatango.com
Patriotic music concert
Pavilion at Proesel Park, 6915 Kostner Ave., Lincolnwood
7 p.m. July 5
Updated: June 26, 2012 8:10PM
One of the first ever orchestral concerts featuring Bulgarian music in the Chicago area will be conducted by Philip Simmons, the orchestra’s founder and music director, on June 30.
The program at Gorilla Tango Theatre in Skokie will include the world premiere of “Dance” by Dimitar Nenov (arranged by Simmons); and Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin’s “Sevdana,” which Simmons, a native of Lincolnwood who now lives in Hawaii, calls a hauntingly beautiful melody.
To locally well-known violin soloist Kamen Vatchev of the Illinois Philharmonic and Northern Indiana Symphony, “ ‘Sevdana’ is one of the most beautiful Bulgarian pieces written for violin. It is a tone poem about a beautiful Bulgarian maiden; it contains lovely melodies, written in an ancient oriental mode.”
The third Bulgarian piece will be “Five Sketches” by Marin Golimenov.
“I’ve worked with Mr. Simmons and the LCO since its foundation, says Vatchev. “He is very creative and his programs are a treat to the audience. We are proud to participate in this historic event, which will introduce Bulgarian classical music to Chicago’s audience and will give them a chance to ‘meet’ several of Bulgaria’s most famous and significant composers.”
The event is hosted
by American Music Festivals, an organization
that promotes cultural exchange with the worldwide music community, particularly in Eastern Europe. Founded by Simmons in 1997, the organization has presented performances in Eastern Europe, and in 2002 it merged with the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra. Simmons continues as musical director and principal conductor.
The Bulgarian works are framed by two American pieces. “Air and Simple Gifts” was composed and arranged by John Williams for Barack Obama’s inauguration. Inspired by Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” this work, Simmons believes, may become an important American classic, on a par with Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”
Simmons noted that both American and Bulgarian classical music came into their own in the 20th century. “Like all great music,” said Simmons, “both in some way based on folk traditions.”
In addition to Vatchev, the 20-piece Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra will be complemented by six other professional Bulgarian-American musicians including violinist Iordanka Kissiova and former Razgrav Philharmonic principal violist Ivelin Miankov. Miankov initiated continuing musical and personal relationships with the Lincolnwood organization when he invited Simmons to visit Bulgaria in 2000.
Simmons points out that the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra has no home venue, and he hopes that a big turnout at the recently re-opened Gorilla Tango Theatre will lead to an ongoing relationship.
Simmons and the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra will also perform a free concert of mostly American patriotic music at Proesel Park in Lincolnwood at 7 p.m. July 5. The program will include “America the Beautiful” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and works by Leroy Anderson and Morton Gould, along with the John Williams piece from the Skokie concert.
Rounding out the program is “Voyage” by Oscar, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary composer John Corligiano.