GSO Concert was a Heartfelt Valentine
Greenville News, Arts and Travel Section | Sunday, February 15, 2004
This has been one heaven of a week for the performing arts in Greenville. On Tuesday, the soul-fired Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre hit the stage at the Peace Concert Hall for a two-day performance. Wednesday, the "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" Rod Stewart kept the Bi-Lo Center rocking for three hours. And among the musicians playing on stage with him were the Greenville Symphony's own terrific Xiao Li Saliny on violin, Leslie Nash Kilstofte on cello and Katie Dey on viola. On Thursday, first in the nation among regional theaters, Centre Stage opened "Hollywood Arms," and Bob Jones University presented the terrific Moscow State Radio Symphony in an all-Rachmaninoff concert. Then came Saturday night. The Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra and virtuosic violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins performed melt-in-your-mouth sweet music at their "Magic of Mozart" confection show. All during the Gunter Theatre concert, I kept thinking, aren't we the lucky ones to have had all these wonderful experiences, as Mozart's rich works, full of scales, runs and trills, capped off a perfect Valentine's Day. You could tell Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel was in his element as he launched the orchestra in the night's first piece, the overture to "The Magic Flute." His readings throughout the concert were sparkling and vital, and the orchestra bounced back pure and beautiful tones. Ms. Hall-Tompkins followed "The Magic" with some enchantment of her own in the composer's Violin Concerto No. 4, in D Major. In a sparkling display of violin mastery, she sang high and low with her 1740 Montagnana instrument, well attuned to Mozart's idioms with full tone and supple grace. The Florida native, who grew up in Greenville and honed her early musical education at Greenville's Fine Arts Center, completed her studies at the Eastman and Manhattan schools of music. On Saturday night, she amply demonstrated why she tours the world with the famed Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and won the 2003 Honorarium Prize at the Naumburg International Violin Competition. Not content with graciously bowing for the third time the audience's applause returned her, she let loose feats of bowing legerdemain on her Baroque violin, fleshing a multitude of stunning colors as she encored Fritz Kreisler's "Recitativ and Scherzo." The night closed with Mozart's first composition for "grand orchestra," his 31st Symphony, the "Paris." Tchivzhel and the GSCO had fun with the work from the first power-driven forte chords to its culminating effervescent finale. The concert is reprised 3 p.m. today at the Gunter Theatre. For tickets, call 467-3000.