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Symphony Up and Running

New season kicks off with Schumann, Strauss and Brahms



The Colorado Springs Symphony kicks off its new season on Friday, Sept. 20, with something old, something new, and an "onomatopoeic tone-poem" to boot. Conducted by Lawrence Leighton Smith, this All-Orchestral Season Premiere will feature three diverse, transatlantic pieces that stretch both stylistic and chronological bounds.

Beginning with Schumann's "American Festival Opener," a "brash and brassy" reveille, the symphony will commence what may be its most eye-catching Classical Series lineup in recent memory. Strauss' "Don Juan" will be performed second, and the angst-ridden Symphony No. 2 in D major by Brahms will conclude the evening.

The premiere program, boasting both an adventurous and challenging triumvirate, may be as much a reflection of its creator, as it is of the popular demand for artistic ebullience. Smith, who programmed the entire 2002-2003 Classical Series, says his selections evoke a personal nostalgia.

"The Symphony in D major [Brahms] was the first piece I ever learned to conduct," says Smith, "and it has always rung a special bell for me." Indeed, the emotionally charged piece contains something almost "neurotic and brutally passionate" immediately attracting listeners with its earnestness.

Schumann's piece, which is only half a century old, represents the "new blood" of the program, though "Don Juan," a 19th-century piece, may impress some concertgoers with its surprisingly intrepid modernity. Derived from a poem by Nicholas Lenau, and based on the classic tale of a fast and loose Latin lover, the piece is best described as what Smith calls "a tone poem -- in symphonic form." Clearly, great music, like poetry, lies predominantly in how its story is told -- and for the Colorado Springs Symphony, a new chapter is about to begin.

--Joe Kuzma


Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra

All-Orchestral Season Premiere

Pikes Peak Center, 120 S. Cascade Ave.

Fri.-Sat., Sept. 20-21, 8 p.m.

Sun., Sept 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $10-$50. Call 633-6698 or 520-SHOW.

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