Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to Perform Celebrate Little Rock, Together, a Free Concert Kicking Off the 2021-2022 Symphony Season
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 12, 2021) —Arkansas SymphonyOrchestra(ASO) will performCelebrate Little Rock, Together, a free concert celebrating the community’sdiverse musical traditions and previewing the ASO concert season at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September16 at the Robinson Center in Little Rock. Sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust and presentedin partnership with theDunbar Historic Neighborhood Association, this special performancefor the community will include selections from Dvorak’s New World Symphony, music of Aretha Franklin,and the world premiere of Little Rock native and pioneering African American composer FlorencePrice’s own orchestration of her Piano Concerto. Tickets to the concert will become available to thegeneral public on September 2 starting at 10 a.m.on the steps of the Robinson Center on a first-come basis.
“We are delighted we found ways to perform for ourpatrons virtually and in innovative ways during the past year. Now we are ready to play for an audience.I am so excited that the Stella Boyle Smith Trust wanted to sponsor a free concert for all of our communitymembers and orchestra to enjoy together as a way to kickoff the season,” said ASO CEO ChristinaLittlejohn. “This concert is designed for us to havefun and recognize our community’s own talent. The ArkansasSymphony represents our state’s rich talent of symphonic musicians. Local favorite singer GenineLaTrice Perez will join us for ‘Natural Woman.’ Weare also excited to feature the incredible contributionsof Little Rock’s own composer Florence Price, aswell as to give the community a preview of some of theinspiring music in store for ASO patrons this year.”
In 1933, Price made history when her “Symphony inE Minor” had its world premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, making her the first African Americanwoman composer to have her music performed by a major orchestra.Concert pianistKarenWalwynwill join ASO Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson as they make history with the world premiereof Price's own orchestration of her “Piano Concerto in One Movement.”
“The Dunbar community is pleased to welcome the musicof Florence Price back into her hometown. We’re elated about all the accolades she is receivingas an iconic Black composer from people across the country and around the world," said Angel Burt, executivedirector of the Dunbar Historic Neighborhood Association. “Our goal is to preserve her historyand legacy so the world will never forget her again."
The performance will be followed by a studio recording the following day.The free concert will also feature selections from Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Bernstein and Gershwin and Little Rock’s own vocalist Genine LaTrice Perez performing music fromthe great Aretha Franklin, whose music is featured in the symphony’s spring lineup.
As the 2021—22 concert season approaches, ASO continuesto closely monitor the evolving situation related to COVID-19 and related variants impactingour communities. ASO musicians must provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test before participatingin the concert. The Robinson Center has also installed a new, state-of-the-art air filtration systemand new hand washing and sanitizing stations in the venue. The City of Little Rock and the Robinson Centerrequire both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to wear masks while on public property.To ensure the safety of our patrons, musicians and staff, ASO will strictly adhere to this requirementas well as guidance provided by the U.S. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention and the Arkansas Departmentof Health.