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A Musical Toast to Three American Composers—Two Contemporaries and One Forever in Our Hearts—with a May Masterworks Concert from the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra

DAYTON, OH (April 10, 2018) – On Friday, May 4, 2018 and Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 8:00 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the seventh concert in the 2017–2018 Premier Health Masterworks Series, Bernstein and the New Americans. For this concert, the spotlight shines on DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung as the Bill and Dianne Schneider Endowed Guest Artist.

Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra have an especially rousing evening planned for this Masterworks Concert to welcome in the merry month of May. This mini Bernstein festival is sprinkled with new music by contemporary American composers Stella Sung and Sean Neukom.

A Musical Toast is just that—a toast to a delightful evening of music. Leonard Bernstein’s music is of an eclectic style that bridges the worlds of popular and classical music, and A Musical Toast is a great example of his musical flair. The bright, theatrical piece is orchestral work in a “pops” vein and is a perfect opening to this sparkling concert.

From 2013 to 2016, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was lucky to have composer Stella Sung for a three-year Music Alive residency. She composed The Book Collector, which had its world premiere at the Schuster Center in May 2016. For this concert, the DPO performs Sung’s Signs/Fate of Place, which was first premiered by Dayton Ballet in February 2015. Sung is currently based at the University of Central Florida, where she is director of the Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology, and Entertainment (CREATE).

This performance also features a Violin Concerto written for DPO’s Concertmaster, Jessica Hung, by colleague and good friend Sean Neukom. Neukom is violist for the Beo String Quartet, first violinist of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and a faculty member for Dakota Chamber Music. Jessica Hung has previously performed his Violin Sonata solo on a DPO Chamber Series Concert, and now she is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform this work on the world-class Schuster Center main stage.

The concert continues with more from the musical library of Leonard Bernstein. The composer was barely 39 years old when West Side Story premiered on Broadway. This epic collaboration among Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim was reviewed at the time as “serious, but hip,” and many today consider it to be the best musical ever. Bernstein later took his biggest smash hit—both in the theater and at the movies—and set it into nine short movements of orchestral Symphonic Dances: a musical capsule arranged for a gala event as a sort of “Valentine” from the New York Philharmonic to celebrate Bernstein’s involvement with the orchestra with a program of his very own music. Symphonic Dances from West Side Story captures the excitement in the dance of this cherished musical, which lives on in so many hearts to this day, over 60 years since its premiere.

At the time of Bernstein’s death in October 1990, the New York Times hailed him as a “Renaissance man of American music.” This concert honors this 20th-century Renaissance composer and welcomes the new work of today’s groundbreaking composers as well.

Tickets for Bernstein and the New Americans range from $16 to $65 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts are available for both concerts at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.