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Orchestra to premiere Prokofiev work, Dec. 8-9

The Princeton University Orchestra, under the direction of Michael Pratt, will present the North American premiere of Sergei Prokofiev's Suite from his incidental music to Alexander Pushkin's "Boris Godunov" in concerts Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8-9.

The concerts, which begin at 8 p.m. Friday and 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, will feature the work along with several other pieces. Speaking during the performances will be Simon Morrison, associate professor of music at Princeton.

Prokofiev composed this music for a planned Soviet production of the play in 1936 that was to be staged by celebrated director Vsevolod Meyerhold. The production was aborted upon the arrest for treason and subsequent execution of Meyerhold, and for decades the music has been rarely performed. While this will be the North American premiere of the score, the world premiere production of the entire play with the music is planned for April 12-14 at the Berlind Theatre. The project, which involves many students and faculty in the creative and performing arts at Princeton, is directed by Morrison and Caryl Emerson, the A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

"Thus in December our audiences can hear a musical preview of this significant event," Pratt said.

The remainder of the program will be devoted to well-known 20th-century works. Senior Geoff McDonald, the orchestra's assistant conductor, will conduct Nuages (Clouds) and Fetes (Festivals) from Claude Debussy's "Nocturnes." Then the orchestra will perform one of Aaron Copland's most popular scores, Four Dance Episodes from "Rodeo" (Buckaroo Holiday, Corral Nocturne, Saturday Night Waltz and Hoe-down).

The program will conclude with Igor Stravinsky's 1911 path-breaking ballet "Petrushka." For these performances, the orchestra will present the score in its original version. "The original 'Petrushka' is for a much larger ensemble than the leaner revision," Pratt said, "and has a color palette that is subtle, rich and complex. This is one of Stravinsky's most beloved works."

Tickets for the concerts, priced at $18 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $5 for students, may be purchased at the Frist Campus Center box office, the Richardson Auditorium box office or the University Ticketing website.

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