Mandolin virtuoso to perform with CSO

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By Rick Morwick

A staple of bluegrass and folk music, the mandolin isn’t typically associated with symphony orchestras.

But on Feb. 9, it will be.

Jeff Midkiff, a nationally renowned composer and mandolinist, will be the featured soloist during the Carmel Symphony Orchestra’s 7:30 p.m. concert at the Palladium inside the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

Making his CSO debut, Midkiff will perform his original composition, “From the Blue Ridge,” a 20-minute mandolin concerto that CSO Conductor/Music Director Janna Hymes is confident will dazzle and delight the audience.

“Jeff’s music is steeped in the bluegrass tradition but has elements of jazz in addition to his own voice,” Hymes said. “His playing is virtuosic, so the solo part fits his style of playing. His music is completely engaging and accessible, and the piece will fly by for the listener.”

Besides Midkiff’s solo, the concert will feature CSO performances of works by Adam Schoenberg (“Bounce”) and George Gershwin (“Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture”) and music from assorted movie scores.

“This is an American program with a huge variety of music,” Hymes said. “I love working with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, and we have a special relationship. I have been with the orchestra for a year-and-a-half, and we are developing a wonderful work flow. I always look forward to concerts. This concert will be especially fun because Jeff and I are friends.”

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a “Meet the Music” talk, followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit carmelsymphony.org.

“Having a mandolin concerto is unique because the instrument is not typically associated with orchestral music,” Hymes said. “Jeff is a versatile musician who plays the mandolin and clarinet and also is a fine composer. His love of music is evident, his playing is exuberant and he’s a joy to work with.”


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