April 25, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

German Pianist Alexander Schimpf Joins VSO in Concert April 27

VALDOSTA — In 2011, Alexander Schimpf became the first German pianist to ever win first prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Following his final round performance at Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra, he was honored with a standing ovation and the audience favorite prize.

Schimpf will perform with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in Valdosta State University’s Whitehead Auditorium. The concert, titled “Virtuosity,” will mark the end of the orchestra’s 23rd season of “sublime music.”

“As a competition winner, Alexander exemplifies virtuosity …,” said Dr. Howard Hsu, Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (VSO) music director. Schimpf will perform Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83, “regarded by many pianists as one of the most difficult in the repertory.”

The evening will also feature a performance of Mason Bates’s “White Lies for Lomax” and Richard Strauss’s “Don Juan,” Op. 20.

“Strauss’s ‘Don Juan’ is famous for pushing an orchestra to its limit,” Hsu said, “and many players will find passages from this piece on their list of excerpts required for auditions. Mason Bates … is one of the most successful young composers around. Great orchestras, such as Chicago’s and San Francisco’s, commission works from him, and our audience will hear that he is a composer at the top of his game.”  

Schimpf was born in Göttingen, Germany, in 1981. In addition to the 2011 Cleveland International Piano Competition, he won the 2008 German Music Competition — a distinction no pianist had earned for 14 years, according to his online biography — and the 2009 International Beethoven Competition in Vienna. He has performed in recitals throughout Germany, as well as in France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, South America, England, and the United States.

“This has been an extremely eventful season with many highlights,” Hsu recalled, referring to performances of some of his favorite works, such as Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 “Pathétique.”

“Alexander Schimpf will continue the procession of distinguished guest artists that we’ve had all year,” Hsu added. “I am very excited about next season, which features more fantastic guests, more music I love, and a United States premiere.”

Individual tickets for the concert are $25 each. Reservations are required.

Saturday’s concert is sponsored by Valdosta Family Medicine Associates P.C.

A special youth concert featuring Schimpf on piano will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 26. It is sponsored by Georgia Power Company. At this event, Mario Rivera, a Valdosta State University international student from Honduras who plays the viola, will perform Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto Sz. 120, BB 128. The sophomore music performance major won the VSO’s annual Concerto Competition in January.

“… it’s wonderful to have young musicians play with the VSO, both as soloists and in the orchestra,” Hsu said. “It’s a great opportunity for them, and it’s gratifying for me to watch them soak up the experience.”

Whitehead Auditorium is located on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building, on the corner of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street.

Visit www.valdostasymphony.org or call VSU’s College of the Arts Outreach Office at (229) 333-2150 to reserve tickets or learn more.

On the Web:


The Downtown Symphony Club, a social group for young and young-at-heart music lovers and professionals, will meet prior to the concert for drinks and a three-course dinner at 5 p.m. at Southern Landing. Contact Dr. Shannon Lowe, an instructor of bassoon, music theory, and chamber ensembles at Valdosta State University, at downtownsymphonyclub@gmail.com for more information. Club members receive a 20 percent discount on single symphony tickets, exclusive dinner deals on concert nights, the chance to meet and socialize after the concert with the soloist, conductor, and orchestra musicians, and more. 

Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/valdostastate/sets/72157633335975721/ to view photos of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/02/vsus-mario-rivera-of-honduras-says-music-changed-his-life-.php to read more about Mario Rivera.