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  • UofSC Symphony Orchestra performing on Koger stage

Rachel Calloway joins UofSC Symphony Orchestra on final concert of the season

The mezzo-soprano has been hailed a “gale-force” by Time Out New York

The last concert of the university’s premier symphony orchestra season is a Sheherazade doubleheader – Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade with mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Isabel Ong, violin. Both Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and Ravel’s song cycle by the same name, showcase the composers’ virtuosic skills in orchestration, drawing out surprising and marvelous effects from unexpected combinations of instruments.

The 7:30 p.m. concert takes place at the Koger Center for the Arts on Tuesday, April 23. Join conductor Scott Weiss at 6:45 p.m. for a pre-concert talk in the Koger lobby. Buy tickets here.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov completed his symphonic suite Scheherazade, op. 35 in 1888 as a well-established and highly regarded composer on the Russian musical scene. Sheherazade was inspired by the collection of Middle Eastern and Indian tales known as The Thousand and One Nights sometimes called The Arabian Nights. Even though Rimsky-Korsakov considered the 1880s to be a compositionally unproductive decade, he composed some of his most beloved and frequently performed works during that time, including Scheherazade.

Isabel Ong photoIsabel Ong performs on Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, a work she says, “is a relentlessly captivating story with elements of drama, romanticism, valor and wit.” She added “Absolutely delighted to have the opportunity of performing this piece!” She is a UofSC graduate student working towards her doctorate in violin performance.

Maurice Ravel composed two works with the title Shéhérazade. First was a single-movement orchestral work, composed in 1898 while he was still a student at the Paris Conservatoire. The composer’s first orchestral work failed to garner positive reactions from the critics, but by the time he presented his second Shéhérazade in 1904, a song cycle for voice and orchestra, his star was on the rise. Ravel’s works enjoyed public acclaim, solidifying his reputation as a leading figure in the French musical world.

Rachel Calloway photoMezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, an internationally recognized leading interpreter of contemporary and modern music, brings versatility and compelling insight to stages worldwide. Her work has been praised by The New York Times for “penetrating clarity” and “considerable depth of expression” and by Opera News for her “adept musicianship and dramatic flair.” Time Out New York hailed her as a “gale-force.” Calloway currently serves on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and the Cortona Sessions for New Music. She taught at the inaugural Juilliard Summer Arts Programme in Geneva, Switzerland, and New York’s Special Music School among others.

Tickets on sale

USC Students - free with student ID (must be picked up from the Koger before 5:00 p.m. on the day of the performance). General public - $30; senior citizen/USC faculty and staff - $25; children under 18 and non-USC students with ID - $5. 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

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