The Delaware Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. with its next Chamber Series concert, “Triumph over Adversity,” on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. in the HOTEL DU PONT’s Gold Ballroom. Principal DSO players Lura Johnson (piano), David Southorn (violin) and Philo Lee (cello) will present Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op.66, in the first half. After intermission, Johnson and guest artist Kevin Deas will present a powerful program of spirituals, lieder and solo piano works that celebrate the enduring human spirit.
Deas has gained international renown as one of America’s leading bass-baritones, and is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” In addition to spirituals, he will perform music of Schumann, Schubert, and Czech composer Pavel Haas, a student of JanáÄek, who was sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp (Terezin) in 1941. (There, in the last months of his life, he wrote “I Heard the Cry of Wild Geese,” part of his Four Songs on Chinese Poetry, one of eight compositions he wrote in the model camp.)
“I have been privileged to work with Kevin Deas on several occasions in the past, and thought he would be a perfect fit for this Chamber Series program,” says DSO executive director Alan Jordan. “That connection was bolstered when I learned Kevin and Lura Johnson have partnered many times in the past. Reuniting them in a program of arias, spirituals and solo piano music that runs the gamut of human triumph—from 19th-century personal struggles to Nazi concentration camps, to slavery and civil-rights fights—will make for a truly remarkable and emotional evening.”
Concert tickets are $62 ($16 for students 21 and under, with ID) and include complimentary champagne, coffee and dessert reception at intermission. Purchase tickets online at delawaresymphony.org, or by phone at 302-656-7442.