WMS Masterworks Concert to Feature Russian Rhapsody on May 16 and 17

Pianist Yuri Rozum Also Performs at The Block and at the WMS Annual Gala

Muskegon, Michigan, May 5, 2014 – Russian pianist Yuri Rozum returns to Muskegon in mid-May for a week of celebration and performances.

A favorite of West Michigan Symphony concertgoers, Rozum will perform at the annual gala, with the full Symphony at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts and solo at The Block during his stay. He will also be guest of honor at a private reception during the week, his fourth visit to West Michigan.

The week begins on Saturday, May 10, at the Muskegon Country Club when Rozum will be featured at the WMS “Diamonds are Forever,” the annual gala fundraiser that this year pays tribute to the Symphony’s 75th anniversary. Attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite James Bond character and will enjoy martinis – shaken, not stirred – a piano performance by Rozum, dinner, dessert and a silent auction. Chairs for the event are Kay and Mike Olthoff and Karen and Paul Jackson.

The week continues with two Masterworks concerts on Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 focused on “Russian Rhapsody” that will showcase Rozum’s extraordinary piano talents. Muskegon-based Hines Corp. is the concert sponsor.

WMS Music Director Scott Speck will direct Rozum and the WMS in two masterpieces by Rachmaninoff: the ecstatic “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” and the much beloved Piano Concerto no. 2. The WMS will also present the seldom-heard Hamlet Overture by Tchaikovsky.

Tickets are still available for both concerts, which will be held at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m.

“As we begin preparations for our 75th anniversary year, it is very fitting that Yuri is returning to perform with the West Michigan Symphony,” Speck said. “This is his 40th anniversary of performing, and he has spent the year touring throughout Russia, where his talents are being widely celebrated.

“Yuri always delivers a riveting and powerful performance, and we expected nothing less with the pieces he’s prepared.”

Rozum was born in Moscow into a family of musicians. With a perfect absolute and relative pitch, Rozum showed early promise, enrolling in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory at the early age of 7.

Considered to be one of the most talented and promising students, at age 21 he was selected to participate in the Queen Elizabeth Piano Competition in Brussels. However, the Soviet authorities refused to give the necessary permission for the pianist to travel abroad. After years of working through religious and political barriers, Eastern European travel restrictions were finally lifted and Rozum became a prize-winner of numerous international competitions and festivals in countries from Spain to Japan.

Despite his evident success, it was not until the beginning of the 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that Rozum was free to travel the globe. Since that time his career has only developed and strengthened.

During his visit to West Michigan, Rozum will also perform a program which has been titled “Yuri. Piano. Potatoes.” at The Block, the Symphony’s new, intimate venue, on Sunday, May 18 at 4 p.m. Rozum is expected to bring down the house with a solo concert that is certain to include some of his favorite composers: Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Scriabin.

Single tickets for the Masterworks’ concert range from $17-47 and may be purchased online at www.westmichigansymphony.org; by calling 231.726.3231, ext 223; or in person at the WMS ticket office on the first floor of 360 W. Western Ave. Student tickets are $5 for this concert but are not available online. College students must present a valid ID when they purchase tickets.

Tickets for The Block performance start at $35. Doors for the performance will open at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at any of the options listed above.

Tickets for the Diamonds are Forever Gala are $150 and can be purchased, based on availability, by calling Rita Smith at 231.726.3231.

For more information, contact 231.726.3231 or info@westmichigansymphony.org.

About West Michigan Symphony
As one of the few professional regional orchestras in Michigan, West Michigan Symphony has played a leading role in the region’s cultural community for nearly 75 years. Founded as the West Shore Symphony Orchestra, WMS now serves a regional audience with eight pairs of concerts annually, along with dozens of educational and outreach activities for children and adults. For more information, visit www.westmichigansymphony.org.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts