Review: Shaub, Chen, and KSO Combine for An Evening of Symphonic Delights

"As if the Mendelssohn concerto needed more energy last weekend, guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen was on hand to lead that orchestral accompaniment to Shaub’s engaging take. Chen literally radiates energy from the time she walks on stage, that energy becoming precision and passion from the first downbeat. And, importantly, she clearly has a finely tuned sense of what requires prominence and what requires collaboration.


Using various pieces from incidental music that Weber composed for a play based on the Turandot story, Hindemith brightened the colors and expanded the sonic appeal, adding substantial depth and interest. Chen submerged herself in those textures and in that depth—sans score—muscling the sections of orchestral sound about as paint on a palette. The second movement, the Turandot Scherzo, was electric and mindboggling, pulling jazz colors from the KSO brass and winds. Chen brought the Andantino third movement down to lyrical earth and to a degree of strange gentleness, saving up power and sonic strength for the deliciously eccentric, exuberant, and rambunctious finale March that was executed with perfection."

Alan Sherrod, ArtsKnoxville
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