Atlanta Symphony returns to Porter Performing Arts Center

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will make its 18th appearance under the auspices of the Arts Association in Newton County, performing at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Porter Performing Arts Center. The concert is presented in memory of Louly Turner Fowler with support from donors Ginn Motor Company, Piedmont Healthcare, BB&T, Wagner and the Fowler family. (Special Photo)

COVINGTON — With the possible exception of local groups like the Covington Regional Ballet, the Newton County Community Band and the Oxford Singers, no artistic entity has performed in Newton County more than the award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The ASO will make its 18th appearance under the auspices of the Arts Association in Newton County, performing at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Porter Performing Arts Center. The concert is presented in memory of Louly Turner Fowler with support from donors Ginn Motors, Piedmont Healthcare, BB&T, Wagner and the Fowler family.

“We were excited last year when we had the orchestra open the renovated Porter Hall for us and we were hoping the turnout would be strong, and it exceeded our expectations,” said Ric Chiapetta, artistic and technical director of the Arts Association. “And our patrons made it quite clear they wanted us to continue to bring them back.

“While we’ve had them many times, I think this is the first time in a long while that we’ve been able to bring them back for a consecutive season. We’re very excited about that.”

Under the direction of guest conductor Jun Märkl, the symphony will present a program entitled “Falla’s Sexy Flamenco Gypsy Dance,” showcasing the piece “El Amor Brujo” (“The Bewitched Love”), written in 1915 by acclaimed Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

“This program will feature a lot of Spanish-flavored music,” said Chiapetta. “It’s a program that, given the size of our hall, we can’t present things like Mahler symphonies so we had to work with programs that (the ASO) already had and this is a program they’re doing in Atlanta as well.”

According to the ASO web site (www.atlantasymphony.org), the orchestra will also perform the “Sexy Flamenco” program on Thursday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 5 at Symphony Hall in Atlanta. The Falla piece will be highlighted by the voice of Colombia-born soprano Catalina Cuervo.

“Spanish music tends to have a lot of vibrant colors and it’s very melodic and listener-friendly, so we thought it was an ideal program to bring to Covington,” said Chiapetta.

The evening’s program will also feature “Burleske,” a composition written by German composer Richard Strauss when he was but 21 years old. “Burleske” is said to be one of the most difficult piano pieces to play in the classical music realm.

“It’s not Johann Strauss – it’s Richard Strauss, so it’s definitely not a waltz,” quipped Chiapetta. “Like ‘El Amor Brujo,’ this piece also has a lot of bright splashes of color. Strauss wrote wonderful, vibrant music with lots of climaxes and lots of colorful splashes. It will compliment the Falla piece wonderfully. Both are vibrant works that are listener-friendly.”

The program will conclude with Beethoven’s No. 4 Symphony, composed in 1806.

“You can’t go wrong with a Beethoven symphony,” said Chiapetta. “All nine of Beethoven’s symphonies are quite famous – the odd-numbered symphonies tend to be very big and dark pieces and the even-numbered symphonies tend to be more pastoral in nature and are beautiful without being overly dramatic.”

Chiapetta says the Arts Association wanted to bring the ASO in on a Sunday afternoon to take advantage of being able to offer the program to families.

“Usually, Sundays are standard for theatrical or ballet performances, and if we bring something in for one performance, we try to find a day and a time that will suit our audience’s needs and the symphony tends to attract families as well as seniors,” he said. “It’s easier for them to come on a Sunday afternoon rather than a late-night thing.”

Tickets for the ASO concert range in price from $17 to $32 and can be purchased by visiting www.newtoncountyarts.org.

Chris Starrs is a freelance writer based in Athens. To contact him, email cstarrs90@charter.net.

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