SPRING DELIGHT | 3.7.20 | Millsaps College Ford Academic Complex | 7:30 PM
Renowned guitarist Giovanni De Chiaro will perform a concerto written especially for him in Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Delight chamber concert, 7:30 pm. March 7 at the Millsaps College Ford Academic Complex.
De Chiaro’s performance of “Concierto De Chiaro” by Kermit Poling (composer, conductor and general manager of the public Shreveport-based Red River Radio) will cap the first half of the evening. Other concert highlights include selections from Christoph Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” and Sam Watson’s “Elegy,” plus the return home of emerging conductor William Garfield Walker to conduct Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.”
Giovanni started playing guitar at age 5. The stepson of a New Jersey shoemaker, he first spotted an instrument he wanted in a New York City pawn shop, and began shining shoes to earn money to buy it — “old school,” he jokes. He paid for lessons, too, and played in rock ’n’ roll bands until a classical guitar performance on public television caught his eye at age 12. “I just ate that up. … I never looked back.”
Professor of guitar at the University of Southern Mississippi for 25 years, De Chiaro now lives in Pineville, Louisiana, and continues sharing his musical passion and skills at Louisiana College and Central Louisiana Technical Community College, with volunteer teaching at Raymond Laborde Correctional Center and the National Guard Youth Challenge. “The best experience I’ve ever had,” he calls it.
Capping off the first half of the concert is De Chiaro’s performance of “Concierto De Chiaro” by Kermit Poling (composer, conductor and general manager of the public Shreveport-based Red River Radio). De Chiaro requested the concerto after hearing one of Poling’s pieces at the Shreveport Summer Music Festival, which supported the project. At a concert rehearsal, Poling shared this news: “We’re going to record with the London Symphony on Jan. 11, 2017!”
“After I picked myself up off the floor, I thought, ‘What? How did you do that?’” De Chiaro says. They sent over CDs of Poling’s compositions, and De Chiaro’s playing, to audition and “Sure enough, we got it!” The recording garnered good reviews in Fanfare Magazine, he says. It also won De Chiaro and Poling a silver Global Music Award — an international competition he likened to the Grammys for classical music.
“Brilliant,” De Chiaro describes Poling. His guitar concerto is “just very beautiful music, that’s the only way I know to say it,” with the beauty of the Rodrigo guitar concerto and the appeal of one of Beethoven’s.
“It’s not easy to play,” he says with a chuckle, “but it’s really pretty to listen to.”
3.7.20 / Millsaps College Ford Academic Complex / 7:30 pm / Jackson, MS
General Admission Tickets $23: buy here >
Students/children (ages 4-18) $5
Christoph Gluck, Overture to Orfeo ed Euridice
Christoph Gluck, Dance of the Furies from Orfeo ed Euridice
Kermit Poling, Concierto de Chiaro Giovanni De Chiaro, classical guitar
Sam Watson, Elegy
Franz Schubert, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished"* William Garfield Walker, guest conductor
*performed at first MSO concert Thursday, October 19, 1944 in the Victory Room of Heidelberg Hotel, Theodore Russell, Conductor