PORT ANGELES – For this concert, the conductor and guest artist wanted a concerto “to warm the soul and the heart”, nothing less, pianist Anna Petrova said this week.
She is the featured soloist at the season opening performances of the Port Angeles Symphony this Saturday. The two concerts – at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. – feature Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, one of the most beloved piano works in the classical repertoire.
The full orchestra, comprising musicians from across the Northern Olympic Peninsula, will also take the stage for Jean Sibelius’ Andante Festivo – “a touching hymn to life,” in the words of conductor Jonathan Pasternack. Next comes Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony, a masterpiece in preparation for 14 years. And the finale: Petrova’s concerto.
The venue is, as always, the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., where security protocols will be in place. Customers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry; masks are compulsory throughout the concerts.
While the evening performance is at full capacity, single tickets and season tickets are still available for the 10 a.m. concert. Individual tickets can be purchased from portangelessymphony.org and Port Book and News, 104 E. Front St., while customers can find out more by calling the symphony office at 360-457-5579 or emailing [email protected].
“I’m very excited, very optimistic,” said Petrova of this re-emergence of the symphony orchestra she has come to know.
Born in Bulgaria, Petrova has performed throughout the United States and Europe, and is now professor of piano at the University of Louisville.
After giving two performances in Port Angeles in 2017 and 2018, she was scheduled to appear as a featured soloist with the orchestra on May 2, 2020.
This concert, and the rest of the season that followed, have been canceled.
Petrova, reached during a layover on her flight to Seattle on Monday, said Port Angeles is a place the symphony musicians and audiences more than welcome; here, she feels among friends.
As the pianist takes the stage on Saturday, it will be the first time she has done so with a full orchestra since February 2020.
The plan was for Petrova to play Sergei Prokofiev’s third piano concerto. But she and Pasternack, after discussing it, decided it wasn’t right. Prokofiev’s style can have a sort of slyness, Petrova said.
The Grieg, with its daring debut, fits that moment, they believe.
“He has the most magnificent melodies and beautiful writing for the orchestra,” said Petrova.
Like the rest of the music from Saturday’s concerts, the concerto showcases the ensemble. The flute, strings, timpani and horn are part of a conversation with the piano.
Subscriptions continue to be on sale for the remainder of the symphony’s morning concerts during this 89th season. In addition to Saturday, these are:
• December 11: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with guitarist Elizabeth CD Brown.
• February 19: The solo oboist Anne Krabill, on the poster for “L’Horloge fleurie” by Jean Francaix.
• March 26: Victoria Parker will play Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
• May 7: Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Alexander Tutunov.
“The excitement in the rehearsals was palpable,” Pasternack said.
“We are all delighted to be able to play together again. Add to the mix an audience that has been hungry for live musical performances, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable experience.
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.