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Bucks County Symphony Orchestra presents spring concert


The Bucks County Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 70th Anniversary Season with a celebratory spring concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Central Bucks High School South in Warrington.

Music Director José Luis Domínguez will conduct the performance.

The concert will open with the “Academic Festival Overture” by Johannes Brahms. Written in 1880, the richly orchestrated piece is a light-hearted work that incorporates four college drinking songs that were popular in nineteenth-century Germany. Brahms composed this “overture” upon being awarded an honorary PhD from the University of Breslau, an expected expression of gratitude from the well-known German composer.

Acclaimed pianist Zhenni Li-Cohen joins the BCSO in a performance of the melodic “Piano Concerto No. 3” by Ukrainian-Polish composer Sergei Bortkiewicz, for whose music she has developed a special affinity. The concerto recalls the impassioned romantic piano tradition of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Bearing the Latin subtitle per aspera ad astra (“from hardship to the stars”), the piece reflects the trials and tribulations endured by the composer and his family as they moved across Eastern and Central Europe during the first half of the 20th century.

With advanced degrees from The Juilliard School and McGill University, Li-Cohen is a Steinway Artist who has performed in notable venues throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall, The Kimmel Center, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

The BCSO completes its concert season with Ludwig van Beethoven’s rhythmically sophisticated “Symphony No. 7.” Premiered in Vienna in 1813, with Beethoven himself conducting, the performance was the highlight of a charity concert for the Sixth Coalition soldiers who were wounded in fighting against Napoleon’s army. Considered by the composer to be among his best works, the Seventh has enthralled countless listeners ever since its highly successful debut, and the second movement is one of the most revered in the symphonic repertoire. Many listeners consider this to be one of Beethoven’s most joyous and optimistic works. Richard Wagner, referring to the lively rhythms that permeate the work, called it the “apotheosis of the dance.”

Tickets, $25 for adults and $20 for seniors, can be purchased in Doylestown at Rutherford’s Camera Shop and the Doylestown Bookshop, or online at Students are admitted free. Call 215-348-7321 or visit the website for information.

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