This and that from the classical music beat:
• There are two givens at the big fundraising concert for theYouth Orchestras of Fresno
Great chocolate. And great music.
“Love Across the Stars,” on Sunday, Feb. 8, features the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, which is made up of the oldest and most advanced players among the organization’s three ensembles. Over the years, it has become a tradition for the Youth Orchestras of Fresno to hold a major fundraiser close to Valentine’s Day.
The last few “Love” concerts have featured the popular professional opera singer Scott Piper, but this year he was unavailable. Add to that the fact that a steady stream of other guest artists came to town to perform with the orchestra in the last year, and the orchestra’s board opted for another approach.
“This time we have decided to focus on the kids,” says conductor Thomas Loewenheim.
An auction of fine wines and chocolates will be held during intermission, which will add to the festive feel.
The orchestra will perform three pieces. Loewenheim describes John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” as a “kind of a hiccup.” The orchestra engages in a wild romp of rhythmic complexity.
“It’s a very challenging and demanding piece,” he says. “If I lose my beat, then it all goes downhill.”
The major piece for the evening is Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous Symphony No. 5, known for its romantic sweep and the inclusion of the piece’s famed leitmotif, or recurrent theme, in each movement.
The crowd-pleaser of the evening promises to be John Williams’ “Star Wars Suite,” which includes the best known bits of music from the famed first film.
Loewenheim says he’s amazed at how deeply ingrained the “Star Wars” music has become in our culture — and can’t imagine what watching the movie would be like without it. The visuals and the music are deeply intertwined.
“You can really ‘see’ the film by listening to the music,” he says.
• Take a trip “around the world” with theFresno Choral Artists
The ensemble, under the direction of Greg Lapp, will perform a concert titled “Touring World Cultures Through Song.” The lineup includes songs from the U.S., Latin America, Great Britain, Armenia, Canada, Taiwan, Africa and Israel. One interesting-sounding song on the program is “Osifuni Mungu,” a Swahili tune that will be done with hand clapping.
is bringing the passion of flamenco guitar to Fresno Pacific University’sPacific Artists Series
Guevara was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. His interest in guitar began at 15 years old when his mother bought him an instrument following a surgery. He graduated from Fresno Pacific in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in music performance, and he earned a master’s degree from Fresno State in 2014.