New Philharmonic, the professional orchestra in residence opens its 40th Anniversary Season at the McAninch Arts Center, with “Passionate Virtuosity – Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky,” Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., on the campus of College of DuPage. Free pre-concert MAC Chats will precede each concert beginning at 6 and 1:30 p.m. respectively.
“Vision, passionate dedication and hard work have made it possible for New Philharmonic to endure for four decades. In some ways we have defied the odds and so I can’t imagine any better way to open New Philharmonic’s 40th Anniversary than to have the extraordinary pianist Wael Farouk join New Philharmonic for Prokofiev’s Concerto no.1, plus have New Philharmonic founder Harold Bauer on hand to open the program by conducting selections from the first work played in New Philharmonic’s inaugural concert,” says New Philharmonic conductor/music director Maestro Kirk Muspratt. The program will begin with Bauer conducting 1st and 3rd movements from Bach’s Sinfonia in D. op. 18, no. 4. Then Muspratt takes the podium to conduct Prokofiev’s Concerto no.1, op. 10 featuring acclaimed pianist Wael Farouk. The first half of the program ends with Muspratt conducting Tchaikovsky’s exciting 1812 Overture, known for the “sound” of cannons. Following intermission, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6 op. 74 in B minor, Pathetique will complete the program.
Dr. Wael Farouk was born with unusually short ligaments in his hands. When his parents asked a doctor for what could be done to make his hands grow, the doctor suggested giving Farouk something that would naturally encourage him exercise them. For his third birthday, they bought him a toy piano. Within weeks he was imitating music he heard on the radio and TV and, by age five, he was playing at church services throughout Cairo. At age seven Farouk auditioned for the Cairo Conservatory. Despite high scores he was initially refused admission due to his physical limitations however his father encouraged the conservatory to give him a chance. The conservatory agreed to a three-month trial period and Farouk went on to become one the conservatory’s most accomplished graduates. To date, Farouk has performed on five continents in such venues as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig, and Carnegie Hall in New York, where his solo debut performance in 2013 was described as “absolutely masterful.” In Chicago’s 2013-2014 concert season, Farouk accomplished something few other pianists has ever achieved-he performed a five recital series featuring the complete solo works of Rachmaninoff.
Farouk commands a repertoire of more than 70 concertos and 60 solo programs, spanning from Scarlatti to Bolcom and including the complete piano works of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. Farouk has appeared as a soloist with such a myriad of conductors and orchestras including the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saint-EtienneNational Orchestra, the Academy of the Arts Orchestra, the Manhattan Symphony; and more than 30 concertos with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra including the Egyptian premieres of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev Piano Concertos nos. 1, 2, and 3. In 2004 Farouk was given the honor of playing on Tchaikovsky’s piano-the first pianist to do so since Vladimir Horowitz. Farouk joined the piano faculty at Carthage College in 2016, bringing more than a decade of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate-level piano students, first as a teaching assistant at the Cairo Conservatory, Converse College, and Manhattan School of Music, and then as a member of the artist faculty at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University beginning in 2012. He also frequently judges competitions and delivers masterclasses.
Dr. Harold Bauer is the founder and Artistic Director Laureate of New Philharmonic and DuPage Opera. In 1977 then College of DuPage president Rodney Berg engaged Bauer to establish two professional ensembles – symphony and opera – under the umbrella of the college’s community/regional cultural outreach. Bauer, already an experienced veteran of conducting, spent the next 27 years developing these ensembles. During his 50-year conducting career, Bauer has served as Music Director of six U.S. orchestras and has guest conducted throughout this country, and in Canada and Europe. He retired from his position here in 2004, and remains active in both the performing arts and visual arts fields.
New Philharmonic, the professional orchestra in residence of the MAC, and the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County, Ill., has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for 40 years. It continues to thrive with the goal to give innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works while striving to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts.
New Philharmonic’s first concert took place in November 1977 under the baton of Harold Bauer when an orchestra of 24 carefully auditioned musicians performed for a capacity audience of 330 in the Building M “open space” on west campus. Maestro Kirk Muspratt took over the artistic reins when Bauer retired in 2004. Today, under Muspratt’s direction New Philharmonic consists of more than 60 professional musicians and performs more than a dozen concerts a year, reaching more than 7,500 from the greater Chicago area annually. In addition, for each the past three years, WFMT has broadcast one of New Philharmonic New Year’s Eve performances, allowing listeners around the world to have the opportunity to enjoy New Philharmonics music.
New Philharmonic (NP), under the direction of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, presents “Passionate Virtuosity – Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky,” at the McAninch Arts Center, located on the campus of College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $49 adult; $47 senior/youth. A limited number of $10 student tickets will also be available, with valid student ID. Free MAC Chats will take place prior to each performance. To order concert tickets or more information, call 630.942.4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org.
New Philharmonic is grateful for season support from Gregory S. Sapp Violin, Ltd., Terrence J. Taylor and Maureen Sullivan Taylor.
Additional support for New Philharmonic’s 2016-2017 Season is provided by Brookdale-Glen Ellyn; The JCS Arts & Education Fund of the DuPage Foundation; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Smith Financial Advisors, Inc; Trust Company of Illinois; WDCB 90.9 FM and the College of DuPage Foundation.