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Symphony opens new season Sunday

September 21, 2010 12:00AM

The Southeast Kansas Symphony will open its 2010-2011 season on Sunday, Sept. 26, under the baton of a new director, Dr. Selim Giray. Giray will conduct the orchestra in a performance of four works by French composers at 3 p.m. in Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium under the theme, "French Fare."

Giray is a member of the Pittsburg State University Music Department faculty, where he is an associate professor of violin, viola and chamber music. Giray has performed extensively in four continents, and has appeared frequently on the national public radio and television. Currently, he serves as Concertmaster and Assistant Conductor of the Ohio Light Opera. This year, he recorded a CD, "Turkish Music for Violin and Piano," for ERMMedia with pianist June Chung-Young.

For Sunday's performance, the Symphony will play works by French composers Adolphe-Charles Adam, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Camille Saint-Saëns.

Sunday's performance will begin with Adam's Overture to "Si j'étais roi (If I were King), written in 1852. Adam, a prolific light opera composer, set this composition in India in 1510.  The story is of a young princess who is saved from drowning by a fisherman, with whom she falls in love.

The second piece is Fauré's "Pelléas et Mélisande Suite," Op. 80, a dark and dream-like tale set in the forest. The opera's plot is a love triangle involving Prince Golaud, a mysterious young woman, Mélisande, and the prince's half-brother, Pelléas.

The third piece in the concert is Debussy's "Première Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra," featuring Clayton Dunaway on clarinet. Dunaway is a senior music education major from Joplin, Mo. He has served as principal and second clarinetist in the symphony and as the principal clarinetist for the PSU Wind Ensemble and the Chamber Winds since 2006. Dunaway has won numerous awards and honors from PSU, including the PSU 2006 Young Artist Clarinet Competition.

The concert will conclude with Saint-Saëns' familiar "Le carnaval des animaux" (The Carnival of the Animals), featuring pianists Reena Berger Natenberg and Gulimina Mahamuti.

Natenberg, an associate professor of music at PSU, has performed as a soloist throughout North and South America, Asia and in Europe. She was featured on radio and television, most notably in a television documentary pertaining to the Czech culture playing the piano pieces of Smetana and Martinu, and on Boston's radio station WGBH in the program "Off the Record."

Mahamuti has an active career as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and piano teacher in both China and the United States. Her performances have taken her to Canada, major cities throughout China, and the Midwest and East Coast of the United States.

Tickets for Sunday's performance are $7 for senior citizens. PSU students with valid ID are admitted free, as are children under 12 when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available in advance from the PSU Ticket Office in the Overman Student Center, 620-235-4796,, or at the door one hour prior to the performance. Memorial Auditorium is located at 5th and Pine Streets in Pittsburg.

For more information, call the PSU Department of Music at 620-235-4466.

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