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MSO continues 'world tour' with trip to Mediterranean

November 14, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is traveling "Around the World" in its 23rd season of MasterWorks concerts. The second stop on the musical itinerary, "Mediterranean Magic," features classical guitarist Sharon Isbin.

The orchestra and soloist had presented the program Friday night at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Md.

Before Saturday evening's performance at The Maryland Theatre, Music Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze welcomed the classical guitarist to Prelude. They talked about the program, and Isbin answered questions from members of the audience - including a couple she pleasantly said she wished they hadn't asked.

She has her own "sneaky little system" of making her music audible to everyone in the audience.

In speaking of the Antonio Vivaldi Concerto for Guitar in D Major, Isbin explained that there is opportunity for the soloist to be spontaneous.

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Hagerstown resident Candice Mowbray, 28, a classical guitarist, had played Isbin's guitar while the soloist checked the sound in different areas of the theater before the concert. An adjunct professor at area colleges, Mowbray said she'd been listening to a recording of Isbin's "hits" all week and was looking forward to the evening and hoping for a solo encore from Isbin.

The program opened with Ottorino Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances" Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, an arrangement of antique music originally written for the lute by Italian composers of the 16th century.

"It's wonderful," said Raegon Clutz, 24, attending a performance by the orchestra for the first time. "It's a gift to be able to do that."

His fiance, Katie Snook, who lives in Frederick, hadn't been to hear the symphony since she was a child.

"It creates a picture in your mind," she said after the Respighi.

Isbin took the stage to join the orchestra in "Fantasa Para un Gentilhombre," by Joaquin Rodrigo.

Seated to Schulze's left, she cradled her guitar, often with eyes closed and head back, listening to the orchestra, sometimes giving a slight toss of her head to the music.

Isbin also would perform with the MSO after intermission.

Felix Mendelssohn's "Symphony No. 4 in A Major," known as the Italian Symphony, would be the final piece of the program.

The orchestra and Isbin will perform the MasterWorks II program again today. The concert begins at 3 p.m.

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