FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2019

PEORIA, IL – The 122nd Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) season opens with the Paris: The 1920s concert on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 7:30 PM at the Peoria Civic Center Theater in Peoria, IL. From Ravel to Stravinsky, experience a decade of wild abandon and Parisian indulgence! The concert also marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of Maestro George Stelluto’s tenth anniversary with the PSO.

Regarding this performance, Maestro George Stelluto says:

“Imagine Paris one hundred years ago! The free-spirited creativity of that era spawned some of the most beautiful music ever written. It’s that time and that music that we are celebrating!”

The concert features guest artist Orion Weiss, piano. Weiss is one of the most sought-after soloists of his generation of American musicians and has performed with major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. He was named Young Artist of the Year in 2010 by the Classical Recording Foundation.

“When you’re named after one of the biggest constellations in the night sky, the pressure is on to display a little star power — and the young pianist Orion Weiss did exactly that…” —The Washington Post

In the week preceding the concert, Weiss will participate in Resident Artist Week (RAW). The vision of RAW is to bring artists into the community in order to entertain, soothe, heal, and educate through the universal language of music. Weiss will visit Central Intermediate School in Washington, IL, Quest High School, Proctor Place, and Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria, IL. On Wednesday, September 25th, the public is invited to join Weiss and Maestro George Stelluto at a Lunch and Learn, 11:30 AM—1:00 PM (program begins at Noon), PSO Cube at 101 State Street, Peoria, IL. Community members are invited to engage with Weiss in a Q&A moderated by Maestro Stelluto, including a performance of about 20 minutes. Bring your lunch—the PSO will provide dessert and beverages. This is a free event.

The public is invited to observe Orion Weiss’ Masterclass with students from Illinois State University on Wednesday, September 25th, 7:00 PM, at the PSO Cube (101 State Street, Peoria, IL). Each student will perform a piece for Weiss, who will then offer a thoughtful critique to help them improve their performance.

After spending the week with the community, Weiss will join the PSO on stage at the Peoria Civic Center Theater for Paris: The 1920s. Immediately following the chaos of World War I, Paris became the center of the artistic universe. Many of the 20th century’s greatest European and American artists lived or got their start there. During this time of great artistic innovation and collaboration—which Parisians called l’Anées Folles (“The Crazy Years”)—stood two musical giants: Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky.

The PSO will open the concert with François Couperin’s cheerful Forlane from Concert Royaux No.4, with Orion Weiss, piano. Although it was composed in the early 18th century, it provided direct inspiration for the piece that follows it: Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. Composed as an homage to Couperin, Le Tombeau de Couperin has six movements that are built along the lines of a French dance suite. Known as one of the greatest orchestrators of all time, Ravel created both beautifully delicate and richly sensual sound environments. This concert highlights Ravel’s genius for both piano and orchestral music.

The audience is then invited to the lobby during intermission for a celebration of Maestro Stelluto’s tenth season with the PSO. While he demurs at calling anything an “accomplishment,” Maestro Stelluto has had many proud moments with the PSO. He recalls conducting the Peoria premiere of Mahler’s Symphony #7, conducting the PSO’s Ravinia debut, seeing Audra McDonald perform with the PSO, the orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony #3 and Brahms’ Violin Concerto, watching James DePreist conduct the PSO in the finale of Mahler’s Symphony #3 (his last public performance!), the live film concerts, recorded PSO TV performances, and longstanding community outreach. Finally, his favorite personal memory is the honor of having been Rosemary Depler’s date to hear Quartetto Gelato at the Civic Center Theater. It was the last concert she attended in her 102 years—she had been a PSO subscriber since 1946! Audience members are invited to join Maestro Stelluto for celebratory cupcakes in the lobby.

Next, the PSO takes the stage with Weiss for Igor Stravinsky’s Suites 1 and 2. The music will take the audience on an emotional musical journey—at times wild and humorous. The concert ends with Ravel’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G Major. The piece is at times quirky, even invoking a sleepy Spanish-flavored melody, accompanied by jazz-inflected “blue notes.”

More than just a concert, Paris: The 1920s is a full evening of activities. Maestro George Stelluto will present a free pre-concert lecture at 6:30 PM. Themed drinks and small bites will be available to purchase before the concert and during intermission. Finally, concert-goers are invited to join Maestro Stelluto and musicians at a P.S. Party following the concert at Two25 Restaurant (located inside the Mark Twain Hotel), 225 NE Adams Street, Peoria.

Paris: The 1920s is sponsored by Soderstrom Skin Institute. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Tickets for Paris: The 1920s start at $25; student tickets are $10. Season subscriptions start at just $70. Tickets are available by calling 309.671.1096, visiting the PSO Box Office located at 101 State Street, Peoria, IL, or online at

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Founded in 1897, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire through music. The PSO presents excellent live musical performances, innovative music education programs, and engaging community outreach efforts, which significantly impact the cultural and economic vitality of Central Illinois.

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This season was made possible, in part, by leadership gifts from:
Peoria Symphony Foundation Soderstrom Skin Institute Illinois Arts Council Agency
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