The Transylvania Times -

Collins To Play Sibelius's Concerto


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Stefani Collins

The Blue Ridge Orchestra, under the direction of Ronald D. Clearfield, will perform a concert of classical orchestral music in UNCA's Lipinsky Auditorium on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. The program will feature soloist Stefani Collins performing Sibelius's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra."

In this Scandinavian-themed concert, the orchestra will also perform Sibelius's "The Swan of Tuonela" and Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suites # 1 and # 2." This concert will be the orchestra's final performance of the season.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $5 for children, and free to UNCA students with valid ID.

Collins, a student of Paul Kantor at the Cleveland Institute of Music, began her violin studies at the age of 15 months and has been performing publicly since the age of 2. Collins is the national winner in the 2007 MTNA senior strings competition, and she recently participated in a live taping of From the Top with Christopher O'Reilly.

In June 2007, Collins was selected as a Young Artist for the Starling-DeLay Symposium at Juilliard. She has performed numerous times with the North Carolina, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro symphonies. Collins recently received her high school diploma from the NC School of the Arts, and she has performed in master classes for major teachers such as Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Jaime Laredo, Pamela Frank, Stephen Clapp, Laura Kobayashi, and Judith Ingolfsson.

In her debut with the Blue Ridge Orchestra, Collins will be performing Sibelius's demanding and beautiful "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra," the composer's only large-scale work for solo instrument and orchestra.

The concert will also include Sibelius's "The Swan of Tuonela," a majestic, melodic piece based on charac-ters in Finnish mythology. Grieg's famous "Peer Gynt" suites will round out the concert. These suites are collections of incidental music Grieg wrote for Ibsen's play of the same name. The enduring and recognizable melodies in these suites have been heard in everything from Warner Brothers cartoons to the music of The Who.

Clearfield, conductor and music director of the Blue Ridge Orchestra, is a local talent who works professionally as a cellist, composer, conductor and recording artist. An honors graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, he also conducts the Asheville Youth Orchestra.

Formerly a member of the Indianapolis Symphony and the Miami Philharmonic, he's also now a member of the Asheville Symphony. He has performed with pop notables George Benson, Judy Collins and Linda Ron-stadt as well as with classical luminaries Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Aaron Copland, and Seiji Ozawa.

Since its beginnings in 1999, The Blue Ridge Orchestra has established itself in the arts and education community with annual presentations of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" in conjunction with the Asheville Ballet to thousands of elementary school children. The orchestra, composed of fine musicians from Western North Carolina, performs in venues throughout the region with concerts ranging from light, popular fare to masterworks concerts of challenging orchestral literature.


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