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Orchestra performs works of masters and student

Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, 2008, 8 p.m. Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall

The Princeton University Orchestra will present concerts featuring the music of Sergei Prokofiev, Ludwig van Beethoven and Princeton composer Michael Early at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.

The program will open with "gathering wind," a work written for the orchestra by Early, a fourth-year Ph.D. composition fellow. "Early's work is, in turn, eerily atmospheric, witty and eventually truly rocking" said Michael Pratt, conductor of the orchestra. "We are pleased to bring an exceptionally gifted young composer's music to our audience."

The orchestra will then move to the music of Russian master Prokofiev, presenting a suite from his most popular work, the ballet "Romeo and Juliet." "This 'Romeo and Juliet' is with a fascinating twist," Pratt said. "We will include, along with some familiar parts of the score, some music by Prokofiev in the original version that was discovered in the composer's archives by my colleague and renowned Prokofiev scholar, Professor Simon Morrison."

"The music was first heard this past summer at the Bard Festival in the acclaimed production by Mark Morris," he continued. "We are performing music from the end of the score, which, in Prokofiev's vision, does not end tragically. Juliet revives, and she and Romeo end the ballet in a radiantly beautiful pas de deux." Composer Gregory Spears, who earned his Ph.D. from Princeton in 2007, completed the orchestration from Prokofiev's sketches.

The concert concludes with the monumental "Eroica," Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. "Arguably the greatest achievement in the symphonic form by any composer, the 'Eroica' is the essence of what we regard as Beethoven's heroic style," Pratt said. "Although he originally may have had Napoleon Bonaparte in mind when he wrote it, the 'Eroica' transcends any one life with the possible exception of that of the composer himself. Beethoven's personal courage continues to speak in the 'Eroica' and inspires us anew each time we hear it."

Tickets, priced at $18 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $5 for students, are available at the Richardson box office, the Frist Campus Center ticket office or online through University Ticketing.

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