Great Falls Symphony kicks of 63rd season Oct. 2

The Great Falls Symphony kicks off its 63rd season on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mansfield Theater, with Rhapsody, featuring accomplished pianist Awadagin Pratt as he performs Gershwin’s smash hit, Rhapsody in Blue.

Tickets are available at the Mansfield Box Office at 406-455-8514, or visit gfsymphony.org.

Maestro Grant Harville’s will hold his free pre-concert talk, Symphony Preview, at Great Falls College MSU or via Facebook Live on Sept. 30 at noon where attendees can learn more about the music featured in the upcoming program and ask questions with Grant and Pratt.

Pratt, the first African-American pianist to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition, has performed at the White House for Presidents Clinton and Obama, and with major national and world orchestras. He was the first student in the Peabody Conservatory of Music’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting. He also made a guest appearance on Sesame Street.

Awadagin Pratt

Pratt is acclaimed for his “old-master richness,” musical insight, and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras, according to the symphony.

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is one of the first pieces of “serious” music to contain elements of jazz. Originally titled American Rhapsody, it was changed to incorporate the word “blue,” slang for music unafraid to show its more risqué side, according to the symphony.

It went on to become his most popular work and established Gershwin’s genius in blending vastly different styles in innovative ways. Written in 1924, it portrays the quintessential New York City of the era. The opening clarinet glissando is instantly as recognizable to audiences as Beethoven’s Fifth.

The symphony is following health department COVID-19 guidelines.

“At the Mansfield Theater, masks are recommended but not required. We are aware that this may make some of our patrons uncomfortable with coming to the theater. That is why we are continuing to video record our performances and we will make the concerts available to our subscribers online at a later date. We will keep you informed about our online subscription series options as the season progresses,” according to the symphony.