March 10th Concert Details


Be a part of the process as we select the next conductor of The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra!

The third of four Conductor Candidates, Lidiya Yankovskaya, begins with Ravel’s suite dedicated to friends who had died fighting in World War I. Following is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, known for its lovely second movement. Ravel returns as orchestral arranger of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Our fourth of four Conductor Candidates, Daniel O’Bryant, opens with Kabalevsky’s overture from Colas Breugnon. The Cello Concerto no.1 by Saint-Saens is tremendously demanding and a favorite of cellists. The Fifth Symphony by Shostakovich is his expression of the immeasurable hardships enduring during Stalin’s regime.

Currently the Director of Orchestras at Northern Arizona University, O’Bryant is the fourth and final conductor candidate to audition this season for the position of Music Director. For nearly two decades he has led orchestras for symphony, ballet, opera and popular music. Joining him will be FSO principal cellist Andrew Hamby as soloist for the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1.

Pre-concert conversation with the conductor is at 6:30 PM. Concert begins at 7:30pm.

Student tickets begin at $8. Regular pricing starts at $20. Senior, Military, and Educator discounts are also available, please see our website for details about discounts at:

Tickets are available from the NAU Central Ticket Office at 928.523.5661 and online at

If you would like an additional opportunity to speak with the conductor we are holding a free public event where Lidiya Yankovskaya will give her vision presentation on Thursday, February 16th at 2pm at the Museum of Northern Arizona: Vision Presentation: Daniel O’Bryant

Purchase tickets here!

About this Concert:

The three pieces of our March 10th concert are as follows:

Colas Breugnon, Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987)

Russian composer Dmitri Kabalevsky  first attracted attention in the U.S. with his overture to the opera Colas Breugnon, which was based on a French novel by Romain Rolland. Although the opera was never highly thought of, its overture was favored by Arturo Toscanini, who conducted it all over the world in the 1940s and ‘50s. Infused with the flavor of French folk music, the overture remains a popular concert piece.



Cello Concerto No. 1, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 –1921)

Saint-Saëns, a French composer, organist, and conductor, made his concert debut at the age of ten. Thomas May wrote that for his first public recital in Paris, Saint-Saëns performed piano concertos by Mozart and Beethoven; “as an encore, he offered to play the audience’s choice from Beethoven’s cycle of 32 piano sonatas — by memory.”

During the five years when he taught at the École de Musique Classique et Réligieuse in Paris, Gabriel Fauré was one of his students, and he subsequently influenced Fauré’s student Maurice Ravel, as well. For twenty years Saint-Saëns was the organist at La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire, in Paris. Later, he became a successful freelance pianist and composer.

The Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor was written in 1872, when Saint-Saëns was 37 years old. It is said that many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered this concerto to be the greatest of all cello concertos. It was composed in one continuous movement with three sections, rather than the usual three-movement concerto form. Saint-Saens vowed never again to write a cello concerto because of the difficulty of writing it (although he did write a second and less popular concerto). Perhaps because the music is tremendously demanding to perform, it is a popular piece for cello virtuosos.

Andrew Hamby began playing cello at the age of seven, and studied at Arizona State University and with a full music scholarship at Northern Arizona University. A member of FSO since 2002, he became principal cellist in 2011. He represents the orchestra members on the FSO Board of Trustees.



Symphony No. 5, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

The Symphony No. 5 by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich concludes the evening with four emotional movements of struggle and triumph. Considered one of the major composers of the 20th century, Shostakovich fell in and out of favor with the Soviet authorities throughout his career for not adhering to the strict formalities of “socialist realism” which was dictated by the state.

Stalin’s Great Purge, a campaign of political repression, began in 1936, and many friends and relatives of Shostakovich were imprisoned or killed. In response, he composed the Fifth Symphony, which was musically more conservative than his earlier works. Premiered on November21, 1937, in Leningrad, it provoked tears and intense emotions and was an immediate success, with an ovation that lasted more than 30 minutes. Its grandiose finale was received and cherished by the Soviet public as an expression of the horrific hardships they endured during Stalin’s regime. Tolstoy described the finale as “an enormous optimistic lift.”



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