The Louisiana Sinfonietta’s season-opening concert on Sunday, Oct. 12, will be a little different for pianist Michael Gurt.
He regularly solos with the group, but this time around his piano will be matched by one played by wife, Jamie.
“Michael and Jamie have never performed together in one of our programs, so this will be a first for us,” says Dinos Constantinides, the Sinfonietta’s founder, music director and conductor.
And there’s more. The duo will premiere Constantinides’ new composition, “Diakos Suite for Two Pianos.”
“This will be the highlight of the program,” Constantinides says. “Both Michael and Jamie are wonderful pianists, and it is quite special for us to have two pianos on stage.”
But the Gurts aren’t the only two soloists on the program.
“The concert will feature so many wonderful musicians playing music by a variety of composers, including one Brett Dietz, LSU’s professor of percussion,” Constantinides says. “We think it’s an exciting program with compositions by Italian composer Aracangelo Corelli, Jan Sibelius and Beethoven. And we’ll close with Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.’”
Other soloists will be soprano Lana Carver, who will sing Beethoven’s aria “No, Non Turbati,” and violinist Espen Lilleslatten performing Constantinides’ “Assemblages II for Viola and Strings.”
“Espen Lilleslatten is a professor of violin at LSU,” Constantinides says. “He and Michael Gurt are both very popular with Baton Rouge audiences and also have busy international careers, including recent performances at Carnegie Hall. Jamie Gurt also enjoys a multifaceted career as pianist, teacher and attorney.”
Constantinides’ also has an association with Carnegie Hall. He has brought the Sinfonietta there for performances in recent years and will lead the group there again on Nov. 22, then he and his wife will travel to Macedonia, Greece, on Nov. 28, for a celebratory performance of his works.
“The University of Macedonia awarded me an honorary doctorate in 2010,” Constantinides says. “This time, they will be playing a concert of my compositions in honor of my 85 years.”
Constantinides celebrated his 85th birthday on May 10.
His focus now is on the Sinfonietta’s first performance, which begins at 2 p.m. in the LSU School of Music’s Recital Hall, as well as the season ahead, which will include the ensemble’s annual “Music for the Young at Heart” concert narrated by Constantinides’ wife, Judy.
“That will be in January,” Constantinides says. “We have a lot of soloists playing wonderful music scheduled, and it’s going to be a good season.”