“BEETHOVEN 7”

By Colorado Springs Philharmonic, El Pomar Foundation Masterworks concert featuring works by Beethoven, Brahms and Rossini, with conductor Josep Caballé-Domenech, violinist Benjamin Beilman and cellist Maximilian Hornung, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $26-$75; 520-7469, csphilharmonic.org, pikespeakcenter.com.

Something else: Pre-concert lectures begin one hour before performances.

Many Beethoven lovers might be quick to cite his “Symphony No. 5” as their favorite. Nathan Newbrough, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, invites you to consider the composer’s “Symphony No. 7” for top-dog status.

“The seventh symphony is, for me, my favorite Beethoven symphony,” said Newbrough. “More than his fifth. Many think this is superior to Beethoven’s fifth because of the energy from start to finish. And in the middle, you get this tearjerker of a slow movement. You start to breathe the air of other planets. It transports you in a way that few other pieces can.”

The symphony will open its new season with “Beethoven 7” and will feature Rossini’s “Overture to the Italian Girl in Algiers” and Brahms’ “Double Concerto for Violin and Cello” with two soloists: violinist Benjamin Beilman and cellist Maximilian Hornung. The philharmonic’s music director, Josep Caballé-Domenech, will conduct. Performances are Saturday and Sunday at Pikes Peak Center.

There’s a method to the symphony’s madness. Programming the Beethoven and Brahms pieces was a way to show off the orchestra at its very best and kick off the season with verve.

“Beethoven 7 and Brahms are two where we get to hear every section of the orchestra perform at its very best,” said Newbrough. “It’s a good reintroduction time for players who have taken time away from each other. This is good meat-and-potatoes music they can dive into with gusto.”

Beilman and Hornung will play in the Brahms double concerto. They’re two young “superstars that we’ve been able to entice to the Springs,” said Newbrough. They’ll be in front of the symphony during the piece. And while both have played with Caballé-Domenech, they’ve never performed together.

“They’re both at the top of their craft,” Newbrough said. “They’re wonderful personalities on stage. That comes through in their performance. We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to feature these two, and this is it.”

Other highlights of the new season include Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” in January, a Pops season with shows such as “The Wonderful Music of Oz” and “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” and the Al and Leigh Buettner Signature Series, a new name for what was the Vanguard Performances series. Those concerts will be at the Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Each is devoted to an individual’s creative genius, such as Mahler, Mozart and Beethoven. Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä was asked to design her own program, which will include works by Mozart and the North American premiere of Kalevi Aho’s “Violin Concerto No. 2.”

“We’ve never tried this concept before,” said Newbrough. “What we see so far is rich and lovely. It’s a rare opportunity for them to program their own concert. We think it’s much more interesting ...”

By Jennifer Mulson

Contact the writer: 636-0270

A&E and features reporter

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