Symphony will end season with celebrated pianist Christopher O’Riley

The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s Investar Bank Masterworks VII concert will feature guest pianist Christopher O’Riley at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, 275 St. Louis St.

The concert, directed by conductor and music director Timothy Muffitt, is the orchestra’s season finale and will feature an all-Russian program.

The orchestra will perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol,” which started as a fantasia for violin and piano before a complete revision, borrowing themes and harmonies from authentic Spanish songs.

O’Riley then joins the orchestra for Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” in F-sharp minor.

The concerto consists of brilliant dramatic contrasts, sensuous slow movement and a fiery, driving finale that requires dazzling virtuosity from the soloist.

The demanding, flashy fingerwork looks effortless for O’Riley, whose career has stretched the piano beyond conventional boundaries.

From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake to his unforgettably sublime interpretations of the classical canon, O’Riley has taken his unique vision to both traditional classical music venues and symphonic settings, as well as to entirely new audiences on the radio, at universities and even clubs.

As host of the popular classical music radio show, National Public Radio’s From The Top, O’Riley works and performs with the next generation of young musicians, demonstrating to audiences that these young artists are as interesting and diverse in their personal lives as they are in their music-making.

Two years ago, PBS launched the weekly television series From the Top from Carnegie Hall, featuring O’Riley as host, directed by Emmy-winning director Gary Halvorson.

O’Riley also will be performing the “Goldberg Variations” on Monday, March 18, in the LSU School of Music Recital Hall.

Tickets to that performance are $28.

Muffitt closes the evening with “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. The most striking feature of the piece, which is further enhanced by Ravel’s orchestration, is the vivid tone painting, that enables the listener to actually visualize architect and painter Gartman’s work.

The entire Masterworks Series is sponsored by Investar Bank.

This performance of Masterworks VII is sponsored by The Lohengrin Group.

Also, Ticket holders are invited to the concert hall an hour prior for a pre-concert discussion with Muffitt.

Prior to the beginning of the concert, the winners of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s annual search for “Music Teacher of the Year,” “Classroom Teacher of the Year” and “Music Ensemble Teacher of the Year” will be presented. The winners receive two complimentary season subscriptions to the 2013-14 Masterworks series, an award plaque, two complimentary tickets to the concert, dinner for two on the evening of the presentation concert at the Closing Night Gala at Stroube’s Chophouse, and recognition in BRAVEAUX, the Symphony program magazine.

The schools receive recognition in the program book, a banner and a plaque. Teacher of the Year is sponsored by Allied Systems, Inc., and McGraw Hill.

Tickets are $25-$55.

For tickets or more information, call (225) 383-0500, ext. 100, or visit http://www.brso.org.

Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra