Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

July 13, 2012

Even maestros get the jitters

Kevin Rhodes to perform at art-themed concert

TRAVERSE CITY — Kevin Rhodes is used to the adrenaline that kicks in before he conducts a Traverse Symphony Orchestra concert.

But that's nothing compared to the pre-concert jitters he gets as a pianist.

"The last time I played a piano concert was the one I did for the TSO three years ago," said Rhodes from his Massachusetts home, where he was practicing for a return benefit recital for the orchestra. "I don't spend time at the piano at all, so it's quite a thing to try to get myself in that mode and get all 10 of my fingers working in concert."

Kevin Rhodes in Concert: An Exhibition of Musical and Visual Artistry begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, in Milliken Auditorium. The TSO music director and classically trained pianist will perform Mussorgsky's 10-movement "Pictures at an Exhibition" in conjunction with a display of 10 paintings by master plein-air pastel painter William Hosner, of Traverse City.

An afterglow reception and live art auction in the Dennos Museum Center lobby will follow the concert. Hosner will donate one of the paintings on display or a commissioned painting to the winning bidder. Proceeds will go to the TSO.

"We selected 10 paintings we thought would be very tempting to choose from and that would symbolically reflect the 10 movements," said Hosner, of the three figure and seven northern Michigan landscape works the winner can choose from.

Landscape paintings capture the scenic Lake Leelanau Narrows, the historic Building 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and the historic Dougherty House in Omena. The latter was part of an international exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan.

Also included: a figure work that won the Gold Award from the International Association of Pastel Societies.

"I chose kind of my favorites," said Hosner, a TSO supporter since moving to the area in 2008. "It's not an inventory sale. I would be thrilled if the auction were to raise anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for the TSO."

The opening bid of $5,000 is about 60 percent of the retail value of his paintings of similar size, Hosner said. If the opening bid isn't met, a painting will not be donated.

"It's a pretty sweet deal, I hope," he said. "It's a way an artist can help his community, a way I can help my symphony orchestra."

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It was written as a tribute to the Russian composer's good friend, artist Viktor Hartmann, after Hartmann's early death. Each movement represents a different painting from Hartmann's retrospective exhibition.

"It's a great piece of music," said Rhodes, whose program also will include works by Chopin, Debussy, Schumann and Joplin. "I've conducted (the orchestral version) a few times but I've never played it, so it's a new piece for me. I learn new pieces to conduct constantly but learning a new piece at the piano is a different thing. I don't do that so much anymore, so that's a fun, not-so-little thing."

Tax-deductible tickets are $50. To order or for more information, visit www.traversesymphony.org or call (231) 947-7120.

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