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USC Symphony Orchestra presents “Opening Night at the Symphony” Sept. 25

Guest artist Angelo Xiang Yu joins the orchestra on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor

The USC Symphony Orchestra is the premier orchestra in the USC School of Music and one of the leading ensembles in the Southeast. Led by conductor Scott Weiss, the orchestra’s repertoire spans five centuries of music, including cutting edge contemporary works.

All concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts (1051 Greene St). Valet parking is available. Preceding each concert are pre-concert talks at 6:45 p.m. on the stage. Concerts are FREE for USC students with student ID. See below under "Tickets" for info on how to get them.

Winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2010, guest artist violinist Angelo Xiang Yu’s astonishing technique, exquisite tone, and exceptional musical maturity have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response worldwide. In addition to winning First Prize as well as the Bach and Audience Prizes at the Menuhin Competition, Mr. Yu was awarded the 2nd prize at the Lipinski Wieniawski International Violin Competition, and the 3rd prize at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. He joins the orchestra on Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor – held to this day as a work that has become an indispensable superstar in the repertoire.

Many of the great concertos were the result of close collaboration between composer and soloist and  Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto collaborator was violinist Ferdinand David. Mendelssohn was appointed director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra in 1835 and hired David as his concertmaster. In 1838 Mendelssohn wrote to David of his desire to write him a concerto and already had ideas for one in E minor. The following year David must have prodded him about the concerto, for Mendelssohn wrote him, “Now that is very nice of you to press me for a violin concerto! I have the liveliest desire to write one for you, and if I have a few propitious days here I shall bring you something of the sort. But it is not an easy task. You want it to be brilliant, and how is such a one as I to manage that? The whole first solo is to consist of the high E!”

The season’s opening concert program also includes Dimitry Kabalevsky’s Overture to Colas Breugnon and Edward Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme, “Enigma.”

Kabalevsky is especially known for his work in the field of music education for children and wrote a considerable number of works for youth. He also composed several operas of which Colas Breugnon, produced in Leningrad in 1938, brought the most recognition. Colas Breugnon, the woodcarver and practical joker from the novel by Romain Rolland, reflects on life and the opera’s Overture is one of the most witty in the repertoire.

Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme, “Enigma” became known as the Enigma Variations, not in regard to the identity of the musical portraits, but due to something deeper, an enigma which may never be solved, but has added to the attraction of the work that shines brightly on its own musical merits. The first performance was given in London in 1899, led by the great German conductor Hans Richter. The Enigma Variations catapulted Elgar from a little-known composer of choral pieces to a national treasure and into the international spotlight.


Concerts are FREE for USC students with student ID (must be picked up from the Koger Box Office, corner of Park and Greene, before 5:00 p.m. on the day of the performance).
General public $30; seniors/military/USC faculty and staff $25; children under 18 and non-USC students with ID $8
Save with a season subscription (6 concerts) and enjoy the best seats in the house: $150.
Discounts: $110 seniors/military/USC faculty and staff; $45 non-USC students. Season subscriptions and discounted tickets must be purchased by phone or in person at the Koger Box Office.

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

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