Kyle Riley

Stone Ward for Belz Enterprises



41st Artists Ascending Series Features an Evening

with the University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Noted maestro and vocalist to highlight evening entertainment


MEMPHIS (February 11, 2008) - The Sanctuary of the Baron Hirsch Congregation will echo with the works of Bernstein, Enescu, Mahler, Grofe Sunday, February 17.  The University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music Symphony Orchestra (UMSO), under the direction of Maestro Pu-Qi Jiang, will take center stage in the second performance of this year’s Belz-Parker Artists Ascending Series.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the evening’s program will be highlighted by the symphonic orchestra debut of My Life is a Song, a composition written by the late Philip Belz and the late Edwin Hubbard.  Natalie Bergeron, soloist, will accompany the UMSO in this interpretation orchestrated by James Richens.  The refrain will be sung by a special choral ensemble consisting of Cantors Ricky Kampf of Baron Hirsch, Jon Kaplan of Temple Israel, David Julien of Beth Shalom, Dr. David Zelig, Sam Stock, Jack Belz, Adam Groveman -great grandson of Philip Belz- and Irvin Skopp. “My father of blessed memories wrote this song as an expression of life, and to have those feelings commemorated in such a performance is a humbling experience of appreciation,” Belz Enterprises CEO Jack Belz said. “I’m grateful to all those who have made the orchestration of this composition possible.”

The evening will also feature an orchestral interpretation of the Grand Canyon as the UMSO presents all movements of Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite.  The music will be complimented by a multimedia presentation of this majestic natural wonder.

Additional performances by the UMSO during the evening will include:

·         Bernstein’s Overture to Candide

·         Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1

·         Gustav Mahler’s Movement IV from Symphony No. 4 in G Minor (solo by Bergeron)

·         Hava Nagilah (solo saxophone Allen Rippe)

        For more than 40 years the Artists Ascending Concert Series has brought to Memphis some of the world’s most promising young classical musicians, many of whom have gone on to achieve international recognition, including violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, pianist Misha Dichter, opera singer Roberta Peters, clarinetist Jonathan Bliss, violinist Jeremy Cushman and many others.  Free to the public, the concert series is sponsored by the Belz Family.

About the UMSO

The University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music Symphony Orchestra plays compositions written for full, large orchestra as well as for smaller chamber orchestra, opera, oratorio, and concerto performances. In 2001 the group joined the University of Memphis orchestra concert tour to perform in three European countries. Most recently, the UMSO completed three performances at China’s Shanghai Conservatory in May 2007.

About Maestro Jiang

UMSO Director and Conductor Dr. Pu-Qi Jiang has conducted and taught on the international stage for the past 15 years. Since 1990, he has conducted many orchestral concerts in the United States, China, Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Jordan, Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

About Soloist Bergeron

Natalie Bergeron studies with Susan Owen-Leinert in Memphis and Mignon Dunn in New York.  She is completing her doctorate in vocal performance at the University of Memphis and has performed as a guest artist with the Alabama Symphony, the Birmingham Concert Chorale, Opera Memphis, Opera Birmingham, the Huxford Symphony, the Tuscaloosa Symphony and the Beethoven Club of Memphis.


For more information about the Artists Ascending Series, contact Leonid Saharovici at (901) 751-2036.