Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“The Force of Destiny”

Itasca Symphony Orchestra on Stage in Bigfork

For an audience that enjoys classical music, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Forza Del Destino Overture is just one of three wonderful pieces that will be performed at The Edge Center in Bigfork on May 6th. The program will also include Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Triumphal March from Aida. For anyone who would like an introduction to this music, the three works will surprise you with their musical ”fireworks”. It is the first time this symphony orchestra will be at The Edge. The time is 2PM and ticket prices are $10 for adults $5 for children. They can be purchased on-line at, at the Bigfork Cenex, or at the door.

This performance is a perfect match for The Edge Center's design. It is acoustically state-of-the-art and will give the audience a very true listening experience. IOSP Executive Director, Katherine Dodge says, "The piano concerto will be thrilling to say the least, the Triumphal March will be very familiar, and the La Forza Overture will be true to its title (The Force of Destiny)."

The Itasca Symphony Orchestra was established in 1981 as the Itasca Orchestral Society by a group of teachers, musicians, and music lovers. It is presently part of the Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program (IOSP). Besides its symphony orchestra, IOSP enrolls 150 students for lessons in violin, viola, cello and string bass. From the beginning, IOSP has staged three to four symphony concerts per year collaborating with guest and local artists. For the Edge Center concert the Itasca Symphony Orchestra will be comprised of thirty-three musicians from Itasca County and 15 mostly from the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Keith Swanson has stood on the podium of the Itasca Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is currently Director of Music at Hermantown High School. He also conducted the UMD Symphony Orchestra and many opera productions for the Northland Opera Theater Experience. He has conducted numerous productions as Music Director of Duluth’s Lyric Opera of the North (LOON) and Colder by the Lake’s productions.

The concertmaster, Mary LaPlant, has been with the Itasca Symphony Orchestra since 1988. She also teaches violin and viola to students in the orchestra’s strings program. As a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a major in forestry and minor in music, she has combined her classical training with a love of fiddling. She is the three-time state fiddle champion. Her music can be found on her two CDs.

Pianist Alexander Sandor will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Alexander Sandor teaches in the music department at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS), and maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist and chamber musician.

Strings: violins, violas, cellos, double basses
Woodwinds: piccolo, flutes, English Horn, clarinets, bassoons, oboes
Brass: trumpets, trombones, tuba, French Horns
Various percussion instruments
Piano for this concert

First violin, Debbie Losik, teaches violin in the Bigfork School. She graduated from Trinity College of Music in London and completed her education at the University of Hull in French and Italian. She trained at the Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point Wisconsin. Since 1995, she has taught privately in St. Paul, Montevideo, and Alcester, South Dakota.

At the Edge Center Concert, pianist Alexander Sandor will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Alexander Sandor teaches in the music department at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS), and maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist and chamber musician. He has been a soloist with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, the Itasca Symphony Orchestra, the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, and the UWS Chamber Orchestra. As a specialist in ragtime and stride piano, he has performed at festivals across the country. Mr. Sandor has worked at Interlochen Arts Academy as an accompanist, improvising music for dance classes and playing for student recitals, and is the organist at the United Presbyterian Church in Superior. He attended UWS where he received his Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance, and received his Master's degree from the University of Arizona. Recordings include Fingerbuster and Cascades.

And finally of special local interest, are three artists who have played at The Edge previously under other circumstances: Mary Laplant, violin, Carmen Heinecke, trumpet, and Dr. Paul Olson, French horn. For regular concert goers, this will be a wonderful experience, and for any unsure of a classical music experience here is a great place to start.

Friday, April 6, 2012

TU Dance to Dance at The Edge

This month there is another chance to see an extraordinary modern dance company at The Edge Center in Bigfork. This will be the second visit by St.Paul-based TU Dance with its special ability to encompass a broad range of styles from contemporary ballet to modern and traditional forms. Their first visit impressed all who saw them with their high level of energy and athleticism mixed with beauty and grace. They are returning to The Edge Center and Bigfork School April 24th through 28th with a public performance at 7PM on the 28th. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for student rush.

TU Dance founders, Toni Pierce and Uri Sands, are veterans of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Founded in 2004 TU Dance has won numerous awards and recognition including the Minnesota State Arts Board, McKnight fellowships, the Princess Grace Award, the Joyce Award and Sage Cowles Best Performance Awards (2005, 2007 and 2010). They consistently receive outstanding reviews, while engaging new and diverse audiences. They have performed in auditoriums from 200-seat Southern Theater to the 1900-seat Ordway Center.

The detailed schedule is a the public movement/dance class for the afternoon of April 25th, a school performance on the 26th, a master class with the REIF Center's dance students on Friday the 27th, and the public performance on the 28th at 7PM. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for student rush.

From two reviews about TU Dance:

From the Minneapolis Star and Tribune “…It's a rare event for a local dance company to sell out the 1,900-seat main hall of St. Paul's Ordway Center for Performing Arts, let alone score a curtain speech by Mayor Chris Coleman, but TU Dance accomplished both Friday night. Artistic directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands led the St. Paul-based troupe in a soaring world premiere…”

From City Pages St. Paul Pioneer Press “…The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium is ample, and few local companies can really command the space, but TU Dance…has no trouble spreading the joy of motion to each and every board onstage…”

So, for an opportunity to see something really different, unusual and exceptional at the edge of the wilderness, consider coming this event at The Edge Center. We too have an ample stage that will welcome a show of this quality and dimension. Come and see if they can fill the stage with joy, motion, excitement and thrills.