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USC Symphony Orchestra concert and best-loved works by Beethoven and Mozart

Special guests Ari Streisfeld, violin, and Daniel Sweaney, viola, join the orchestra on Oct. 30

The USC Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concert includes two of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. With its evocations of brooks, birdsongs and thunderstorms, Beethoven’s bucolic “Pastoral” symphony celebrates the beauty of nature and is one of the composer’s most beloved works. Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante opens the concert and showcases USC’s newest members of the string faculty, violinist Ari Streisfeld and violist Daniel Sweaney.

The University of South Carolina’s premier orchestra, the USC Symphony Orchestra, performs Monday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts. A pre-concert talk takes place at 6:45 p.m. on the Koger stage, presented by conductor Scott Weiss, Sarah Bolick Smith Distinguished Professor of Music at the USC where he conducts the USC Symphony Orchestra and USC Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting.

Though Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major is scored like many earlier concertos for strings with oboes and horns, the orchestral writing is much richer. The musicologist and great Mozart scholar Alfred Einstein called the Sinfonia concertante “Mozart’s crowning achievement in the field of the violin concerto.”

Ideas for one of the world’s most celebrated examples of program music – music that tells a story – occurred to Beethoven as early as 1803, and he began in earnest on Symphony No. 6 in F Major – called Pastoral – in 1808. Beethoven was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country, and he frequently left Vienna to work in rural locations. With its evocations of calm and tempest, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony is one of the composer’s best-loved works. A sketch for the merry peasant dance in the Pastoral Symphony’s third movement trio appears in the Eroica Symphony sketchbook, as does another sketch labeled “the murmuring of the brook,” which Beethoven gives in two keys saying, “the larger the stream, the deeper the note.”

Violinist Ari Streisfeld has garnered critical acclaim worldwide for his performances of diverse repertoire and has established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary classical music. Praised for his “dazzling performance” by The New York Times and “scintillating playing” by New York Classical Review, Streisfeld is a founding member of the world-renowned JACK Quartet and is assistant professor of violin and violin pedagogy at the University of South Carolina. His recent season highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall (London), La Salle Pleyel (Paris), Teatro Colon (Argentina), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Carriage Works (Sydney, Australia), Venice Biennale (Italy), Carnegie Hall, The Library of Congress, The Morgan Library (New York), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland) and the Salzburg Festival (Austria). He has collaborated with many of today’s most prominent composers including John Luther Adams, Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, Helmut Lachenmann, Matthias Pintscher, Georg Friedrich Haas, Steve Reich and Salvatore Sciarrino. He has recorded for Mode, Albany, Carrier, Innova, Canteloupe and New World Records. Together with his wife, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, Streisfeld formed Duo Cortona, a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the creation of new works for the unique instrumentation of mezzo-soprano and violin. He is also a member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the performance and preservation of Jewish art music.

Daniel Sweaney, associate professor of viola at USC, made his New York debut in Avery Fisher Hall at the 1999 Mostly Mozart Festival. Strings Magazine called him “...extremely talented and highly trained...poised and accomplished...” Sweaney began his musical studies in his public school’s string program at age 11 and has since had a diverse education in the U.S. and Europe, performing across the globe. He won prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Down Beat Magazine Chamber Music Competition, and was a two-time recipient of the Interlochen Arts Academy Fine Arts Award for Outstanding Performance in Viola. Sweaney has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Ani Aznavoorian, Ron Leonard, Stefan Milenkovich, Merry Peckham and Peter Sellers. While living in Austria, he performed regularly with the Camerata Salzburg under Sir Roger Norrington, Leonidas Kavakos, Walter Weller and Heinrich Schiff. Recent venues and festival performances include the Salzburg Mozarteum Grossersaal, Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein, KKL Lucerne, Bilbao and Madrid, Spain, Athens Megaron, Camerata Salzburg’s Beethoven and Haydn Begegnung, Vienna Festwochen, Salzburg Mozart Woche, Bergen Norway Festspiel, Schubertiad Bezau, Austria, Würzburg Mozart Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, The Best of the Nordrhein-Westfalen series, The Beethoven House in Bonn, SUNY Purchase, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Symphony Hall in Chicago. His first CD, “Violin and Viola Duos Through the Centuries,” with Annette-Barbara Vogel was released in 2013.

Tickets are on sale now.

General Public - $30; Senior Citizen/USC Faculty and Staff - $25; Children under 18 and non-USC students- $8
NEW THIS YEAR! USC Students – Free with Student ID. Students must pick up free ticket at the Koger Box before 5:00 p.m. on the day of the concert. (Bernstein MASS excluded from free tickets)

Call 803-251-2222 or Koger Box Office, corner of Greene and Park Streets (M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or online at

About the Conductor

Scott Weiss is beginning his eighth year as the Sarah Bolick Smith Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of South Carolina where he conducts the USC Symphony Orchestra and the USC Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting. Equally at home leading symphony orchestras and wind ensembles, Dr. Weiss maintains an active international guest conducting schedule, including recent concerts in China with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, the Hunan Symphony Orchestra, the Nanchang Philharmonic, the Shandong Symphony Orchestra, and the Inner Mongolia Symphony Orchestra; and his 2017-18 schedule includes return engagements with the Inner-Mongolia and Hunan Symphony Orchestras, as well as his debut with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra. A champion of contemporary music, his performances have been praised by such notable composers as Joseph Schwantner, Karel Husa, Samuel Adler, and Jennifer Higdon; and he has a series of critically-acclaimed recordings on the Naxos label as well as a new disc on Summit Records that was released worldwide in April 2017.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.