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Friday, April 25, 2014
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Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra to present annual "Young Artists" concert
The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) will perform its annual "Young Artists" concert featuring three Millikin University students as soloists on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

The performance will showcase winners of the Millikin University School of Music Concerto/Aria Competition. This year's honorees are sophomore Chris Raymond (bassoonist), freshman Jared Rixstine (pianist), and senior Megan Dirr (soprano).

The concert will open with Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" followed by Weber's "Bassoon Concerto" featuring bassoonist Chris Raymond. Other musical selections for the evening include Grieg's "Piano Concerto" featuring pianist Jared Rixstine. Following an intermission, senior soprano Megan Dirr will sing Rodrigo's "Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios." The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra will conclude the concert with a performance of Lee Actor's "Dance Rhapsody."

"Along with Brahms' 'Academic Festival Overture' which opens the program, these concertos comprise a first-half of favorite 19th-century masterpieces," remarked Dr. Michael Luxner, music director for the MDSO. "Rodrigo's 'Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios' is a 20th-century cycle of four Spanish love songs every bit as delightful as its title suggests. Composed in 2010, 'Dance Rhapsody' is a single movement, 16-minute work for large orchestra, inspired by and incorporating dance rhythms including a waltz, two tangos, and a rousing final fandango. 'Dance Rhapsody' was awarded 2nd place at the 2011 American Prize Competition for Orchestral Composition and has been played across the country."

Furthermore, Millikin Professor of Music, Dr. Travis Stimeling, will present a concert preview on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 6:45 p.m. in Kirkland Lecture Room 128 prior to the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra's "Young Artists" concert. The event is free to concert attendees.

ABOUT THE YOUNG ARTISTS:

Christopher Raymond is a sophomore from Bourbonnais, Ill., majoring in instrumental music education. A graduate of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School, Chris has played bassoon since 2006. He performed with the IMEA All-State Honors Orchestra and also as a soloist with the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra. At Millikin, Chris plays with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and the Eidolon Woodwind Quintet, and is principal bassoonist for the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Jared Rixstine is a freshman piano performance major from Washington, Ill. He won the Bradley University High School Piano Competition and attended the Indiana University Piano Academy. As a high school student he played clarinet in both the Central Illinois Youth Symphony (CIYS) and the Bradley University Symphony Orchestra, and had the opportunity to conduct the CIYS in concert during his junior and senior years.

Megan Dirr is a senior vocal performance major from Pewee Valley, Ky. At Millikin, she is a member of the University Choir and an active participant in opera where her roles have included Papagena in Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte," Cupid in Offenbach's "Orpheus and the Underworld," and Drusilla in Monteverdi's "Poppea." She has also participated in the New Brunswick Early Music Festival with solos in Monteverdi's "Vespers" and Handel's "Judas Maccabeus."

Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at www.kirklandfinearts.com. Box Office hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders.

Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Symphony Guild of Decatur.