Mobile Symphony plays classical music’s biggest romantic hits

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 9:56 AM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) aims to pull at the heartstrings with Musical Romance, Saturday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m., at Mobile’s historic Saenger Theatre. The program celebrates two of classical music’s most romantic masterworks: Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with piano sensation Joyce Yang.

“Classical music’s Romantic era has many faces,” says Scott Speck, music director. “Here we present perhaps the most iconic love theme in history, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, along with the ultimate Romantic piano concerto, Rachmaninoff’s Second with the incomparable Joyce Yang.”

Rachmaninoff wrote his second concerto as a showcase for his own astounding talents as a pianist, for a concert tour to America. The piece, filled with gorgeous melodies that have been borrowed for everything from pop songs to movie scores, requires amazing technical skill and physical strength. Joyce Yang, who launched her career by winning the silver medal at the Van Cliburn Competition, is now known for her powerful and passionate interpretations of Rachmaninoff’s challenging concertos.

The concert also includes a symphony by the dean of African American composers, William Grant Still. “In contrast to the two European Romantic pieces, Still’s Afro-American Symphony evoked and portrayed an important part of the American experience,” Speck explains. “This is one of my favorite symphonies, full of blues and jazz influences, and sincere in its attempt to distill the African American soul into four musical movements.”

Three-concert season memberships are $ 51-$204. A special three for $99 offer on limited premium seats is also available. Tickets to individual concerts are $20-$89. Student tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 251-432-2010 or at the symphony box office, 257 Dauphin Street. Through MSO’s Big Red Ticket program, sponsored by the Alabama Power Foundation, students in grades K-12 can attend any of the season’s classical Sunday performances for free when accompanied by a paying adult (excludes special events like the annual holiday concert). More details can be found at

David Duff, Alabama Public Radio music director, will present an informative pre-concert talk to enhance the enjoyment of the concert. TakeNote lectures begin at 6:30 p.m. before Saturday performances and 1:30 p.m. before Sunday performances in Room 1927 adjacent to the Saenger entrance on Joachim Street.

Musical Romance is performed in memory of longtime MSO principal oboist Patty Malone, and is sponsored by the J.L. Bedsole Foundation, Jim and Karen Atchison, Robert and Joanna Cunningham and the family of Patty Malone. Alabama Public Radio is the media sponsor. All concerts have been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Mobile Symphony has been a regional orchestra for the central Gulf Coast since 1997. Scott Speck serves as music director. In addition to offering a full season of classical and pops concerts, the orchestra serves the area with a wide range of educational and outreach programs including student performances, string academies and a youth orchestra.