Southern Illinois Symphony and Civic Orchestra continues its season

Southern Illinois Symphony and Civic Orchestra continues its season

Southern Illinois Symphony and Civic Orchestra continues its season
Tara Janowick

The Southern Illinois Symphony and Civic Orchestra’s 2017-18 Season is themed THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

As part of this series, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14 Shryock Auditorium, the Southern Illinois Civic Orchestra performs music from Borodin’s Second Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

Music Director Edward Benyas, along with Vickie Moore, William Bewley and Jee Won Yang, Conductors, bring these classic Russian symphonies to Southern Illinois through the musical talents of young artists in training.

“The Southern Illinois Civic Orchestra is the training orchestra for the Southern Illinois Symphony, which opened our season on Oct. 24 with Orli Shaham,” Benyas said. “The Civic Orchestra includes very talented pre-college students, as well as some SIU music majors, non-majors and community members.”

The pre-college student musicians in the orchestra “represent a cross section of Southern Illinois,” and include musicians from Carbondale Community High School, Herrin High School, Marion High School, Carterville High School, Unity Point School, Trinity School and Giant City School.

“This November concert continues our theme of all-Russian composers, in this case featuring two famous 19th century composers, Alexander Borodin and Pyotr Tchaikovsky,” Benyas said. “Of course, Tchaikovsky is known for his three great ballets—Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker, and the Symphony will present the complete Nutcracker next month—and also for his last 3 symphonies, numbers 4, 5 and 6.”

The series bridges and connects the music of these composers. Tuesday’s concert includes the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Symphony, and moves into music from his Romeo and Juliet tone poem. The Romeo and Juliet pieces pair with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet music, performed by the symphony in an earlier show two weeks ago.

Moving into the second symphony, Benyas feels that “Borodin is an interesting composer in that his main career was as a chemist but he wrote beautiful music on the side. Thus he did not have a huge output of music, completing only two symphonies and leaving his only opera unfinished.”

Borodin’s music is very tuneful and exciting.  The Civic Orchestra will present three excerpts from the second symphony, including “On the Steppes of Central Asia,” which is comprised of beautiful melodies for the woodwinds, horn and strings; the opening movement from his second Symphony — and an arrangement for full orchestra of his famous “Nocturne” from his second string quartet, featuring important solos for cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn.

The entire concert is one hour, with no intermission.

“This is a great concert to introduce concert-goers to classical orchestral music,” Benyas said. “It is presented in a relaxed atmosphere, with video descriptions appearing above the orchestra helping to explain the musical selections, and is not too long.”

Tickets are $20 general and $8 for students of any age, and are available at the door. For tickets in advance and for more information, visit, call 618 453-6000, or visit ticket outlets at McLeod or the SIU Arena. Phone and online purchases incur charges in the $2 range.