April 25, 2019  

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USM Symphony Orchestra Opens the 2018-19 season with Bernstein on Oct. 4

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The USM Symphony Orchestra is set to open its 99th season on Oct. 4.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Symphony Orchestra opens its 99th concert season on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus by honoring legendary composer Leonard Bernstein.

For this opening night gala concert, patrons are encouraged to dress in their best blue outfits as the program includes Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, one of the inspirational pieces for the concert’s namesake, Leonard Bernstein. The Symphony pays tribute to the greatest American-born musician, Bernstein, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

“Bernstein’s contributions as a composer, performer, and a teacher are indisputable” said Interim Director of Orchestral Activities and Professor of Music, Dr. Michael Miles. “Featuring his own compositions, works that he loved to perform, and the final symphony he conducted at his beloved Tanglewood; the symphony celebrates Bernstein’s legacy and that of the USM Symphony Orchestra’s 99th season.”

The program includes pieces that represent a different musical aspect of Bernstein. His Overture to Candide pays tribute to him as a composer, Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin celebrates Bernstein as a musician, and Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven celebrates Bernstein as a conductor.

With a renewed dedication to provide the very best in orchestral performances for our community and region, the orchestra transfers from the incredible leadership of Dr. Jay Dean to the interim direction of longtime collaborator, professor of music, Dr. Michael Miles.

“I am dedicated to continuing the fine work of Dr. Jay Dean and his commitment to the highest quality of orchestral performances” Miles said. “We want to ensure that our talented students are provided the opportunity for a quality orchestral experience while sharing wonderful performances with our patrons and community.”

Dean, who recently retired amid many accolades as director of the orchestra and opera, continues with USM as Associate Dean for the Arts and External Relations in the College of Arts and Sciences. In this capacity, he will have a more hands on role in helping the already dynamic arts program with a more global involvement. He is also excited to be able to enjoy the Symphony as an audience member.

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with arts colleagues in addition to music” said Dean. “I am a huge fan of all of the arts and cannot wait to enjoy the wonderful experiences in store and find ways to support them all-including the 99th opening night.”

The USM School of Music has a longstanding international reputation for musical excellence. The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is a study in international relations as students from across the globe come together for one purpose— music. With an intense performance schedule covering classical to pop musical styles and drawing both students and guest artists from around the globe, the Symphony is bringing the world to Mississippi.

This performance is presented in part by the generous support of Partners for the Arts. Tickets are available at southernmiss.tickets.com, 800.844.8425, and 601.266.5418.