VISALIA – A birdsong heard through the rustling on a blustery day. A pine tree standing alone along a barren landscape. A single guitar against a symphony of instruments. The glory of nature will be depicted by an adventurous guitarist featured in two pieces inspired by spring at this weekend’s Sequoia Symphony concert.
The symphony ends its season with the most famous works by two composers, Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” and Rodrigo’s guitar concerto “Concerto de Aranjuez,” on Saturday, April 13 at the Visalia Fox Theatre.
Guest artist is a classical guitarist who goes by the name of Jiji. The artist is known for both acoustic and electric guitar, playing a wide range of music from traditional and contemporary classical to free improvisation. Her impeccable musicianship combined with compelling stage presence and fascinating repertoire made her a phenom in the classical world. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jiji (Jiyeon Kim) began playing classical guitar at the age of 9, and was accepted to the Korea National University of Arts at age 14. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Music for two years before being accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 as one of the first two guitarists in Curtis’ distinguished history. She graduated Curtis in 2015 and recently earned her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. Her performances have been featured on PBS (On Stage at Curtis series), NPR’s From the Top, and radio stations from Kansas to Hong Kong.
“Concerto de Aranjuez” by Spanish composer Rodrigo was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, a resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the 16th century. The work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature in an unusual combination of orchestra and the uniquely Spanish sound of the guitar. Rodrigo was a pianist and did not play the guitar, yet managed to capture and project the role of the guitar in Spanish music.
“The Pines of Rome” pays homage to pine trees in four distinct locations in Rome at different times of the day, and is the second of Ottorino Respighi’s trilogy of tone poems based on the city, along with Fountains of Rome (1917) and Roman Festivals (1928). The first movement, Pines of the Villa Borghese, portrays children playing on the grounds of the villa. The second movement, The Pines Near a Catacomb, depicts a few solemn trees silhouetted in a deserted land where the those killed in battle lie beneath the surface. The third movement, The Pines of the Janiculum, takes the audience to a hill near the temple of Janus, the God of gates and the new year, where the full moon shines on the pines. The fourth and final movement, The Pines of the Appian Way, ends with a triumphant military march along the great road where victorious armies were celebrated on their way to Rome.
The audience is invited to attend the pre-concert preview by music director Bruce Kiesling at 6:45 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the symphony office, 208 W. Main Street, Suite D, Visalia, downstairs in Montgomery Square. Tickets are also available at 732-8600 or go to www.sequoiasymphonyorchestra.com.