March 5, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSO Concert Inspires, Alasdair Neale Serves as Guest Conductor

Alasdair Neale

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will continue its 2013-2014 season with a bit of “Human Inspiration” and acclaimed conductor Alasdair Neale at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, in Valdosta State University’s Whitehead Auditorium.

The performance will begin with Igor Stravinsky’s “Scherzo a la russe,” which, noted Dr. Howard Hsu, VSO music director, “was originally composed for a war film about Ukranian villagers who resist Nazi invaders.” He described the composition as “very spirited and playful.”

The VSO will then perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” Overture-Fantasy, depicting “the tragic story of the doomed young lovers,” Hsu continued. The piece “features one of the most famous love themes ever written.”

Following intermission the orchestra will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100, which Hsu referred to as “an orchestral masterpiece that bristles with nobility and power. Prokofiev said that his work glorified the ‘human spirit … praising the free and happy man, his strength, his generosity, and the purity of his soul.’”

Neale serves as music director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony located in Sun Valley, Idaho, a position he has held since 1995. Under his leadership, it has become the largest privately funded free admission symphony in the nation. He also serves as music director of the Marin Symphony in San Rafael, Calif., and as principal guest conductor of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a professional school in San Francisco, Calif. He previously served 12 years as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and as music director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, leading them in hundreds of concerts at home and abroad. From 2001 to 2011, he served as principal guest conductor of the New World Symphony. He has guest conducted numerous orchestras around the globe, including the New York Philharmonic.

Neale holds a bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a master’s degree from Yale University. He lives in San Francisco, Calif.  

“We are very fortunate to have Maestro Neale come conduct the VSO,” Hsu said. “He was one of my early mentors, so I frequently got to watch him rehearse numerous works, including the Prokofiev 5th Symphony. When the opportunity arose to perform this piece, I knew that we had to get Maestro Neale here to share his wealth of experience and musical talents with us. It will be an amazing concert.”

Tickets for Saturday’s performance, which is sponsored by Ladenburg Thalmann, are $27 for adults and $10 for students. Senior and military discounts are available.

Whitehead Auditorium is located on the first floor of the VSU Fine Arts building at the intersection of Oak Street and Brookwood Drive. 

Visit or contact Sarah Alexander with VSU’s College of Arts Outreach Office at (229) 333-2150 or to reserve tickets or learn more. Tickets are also available at the Box Office before each event.