PIANO SOLOIST Robert Edward Thies won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev competition in Russia in 1995, becoming the first American pianist to win the competition since the late Van Cliburn in 1958.

PIANO SOLOIST Robert Edward Thies won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev competition in Russia in 1995, becoming the first American pianist to win the competition since the late Van Cliburn in 1958.

Orchestra Santa Monica will present its third and final concert of the season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica.
Music Director Allen Robert Gross will lead Santa Monica’s newest full-scale orchestra and piano soloist Robert Edward Thies in works by Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Bedrich Smetana.
Entitled “Sublime Spring,” the concert will showcase the transformative qualities of the season with Brahms’ Third Symphony, a work which has both sunny and stormy aspects, an orchestra spokesperson said.
“Brahms’ symphonies are always a great challenge and treat to perform because they are so rich in their emotional scope,” Gross said.
“This one is particularly special. It is unusual in that it ends softly, but peacefully, almost like Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral Symphony.’ It reconciles tensions presented at the beginning of the work in an almost otherworldly way – it’s really magical.”
A special feature of the concert will be an informal question and answer session with Gross during the intermission, in which the audience is invited to participate in a discussion about the symphony, which opens the concert.
Also on the program are Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, and Smetana’s Three Dances from his opera The Bartered Bride. The three dances presented at the concert are full of Czech folk melodies and rhythms.
Thies is an artist renowned for his consummate musicianship and poetic temperament, according to the orchestra. He first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. With this victory, Thies became the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since the late Van Cliburn’s famed triumph in Moscow in 1958.
Thies works as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He has performed 40 concerti with orchestras all over the world.
Information, (310) 525-7618, or www.orchestrasantamonica.org.

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