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SEK Symphony to host concert of Russian music

The Southeast Kansas Symphony at Pittsburg State is preparing to perform a concert of all Russian music, including a Russian guest conductor, for a live audience.

“Last year we played in an empty auditorium, and we sent out videos for the public to view…and I am eager to perform for a live audience again,” said Raúl Munguía, professor of music and director of orchestras. 

The Symphony’s performance will include guests from around the world, including students from Latin America, guest pianist Luigi Borzillo from Italy, and guest conductor Vladimir Gorbik from Russia. 

“I am very excited to be here in America after COVID-19, especially with such a big orchestra, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with these students at this wonderful university,” Borzillo said. “I am looking forward to meeting the community at the concert.” 

The concert itself will consist of different Russian pieces, and the Symphony collaborating with the University Choirs, putting over 120 musicians in the Bicknell Center Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall. They will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No.1,” Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite No.2,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Three Russian Songs.” 

Munguía is excited for the performance and is glad his students can work with different people from different backgrounds. Specifically, he is most excited to have both guests here and they are both eager to be working with these students. 

“I think it’s great to be here in America, especially considering America and Russia’s different issues, and it’s great to be able to connect with Americans and show them my experience with Russia, as it is pretty new to them,” Gorbik said. 

What Munguía loves about these Russian pieces specifically is that the ability to put classical music into Russian and also having that aspect of love in the Romeo and Juliet piece, adding a bit more variety to showcase at the concert. 

Borzillo and Gorbik as well as Munguía are pleased that both PSU and the music department allowed this to happen even when Pittsburg and the world are still in a pandemic, and that the students get to experience working with people from different areas of the world. 

“It’s just pretty amazing that we are able to do this, it’s a great experience for my students and hopefully for all who attend the concert,” Munguía said. 

Munguía would like to personally extend his invitation for the whole community to attend the concert, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. For students, it is free with their PSU ID, and tickets will be available at the door for community members to attend. 

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