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Released February 25, 2003

"ROMANTIC" PIANIST TO PERFORM
WITH ORCHESTRA AT SOUTHERN MISS

HATTIESBURG - Pianist Kevin Kenner – one of the foremost interpreters of Romantic piano music – has amazed audiences worldwide with the extraordinary technique and depth of feeling in his performances.

Joining The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in its next "Traditions and Treasures" season concert March 6, Kenner will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concert No. 2 in C minor, op. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.

"Kevin is an exquisite pianist and one of great technique," said Jay Dean, musical director of the orchestra. "He performed with us on our 1999-2000 season and was well received. After that performance, one of our own faculty members in the School of Music, Dr. Mary Ann Stringer, remarked that Kenner's was among the finest piano playing that she had ever heard."

"The Rachmanioff concerti is one of the great Romantic pieces in the piano repertoire," said Stringer, dean of the College of the Arts and professor of piano. "This work demands both virtuosity and lyricism – Kenner's playing displays both in abundance."

The symphony will open its "Priceless Musical Treasures" concert with Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F major, "Pastorale," op. 68. After intermission, the guest pianist will join the orchestra for his performance of the piano concerto.

In addition to the concert, Kenner will give a free master class to aspiring pianists March 7 at 2 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.

Kenner may be better known for his passion for Frederic Chopin's music. His last visit to Southern Miss also included a solo, multimedia concert that commemorated the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death. His interest in the classic composer began when Kenner was 12 and studying with Polish pianist Krysztof Brzuza in San Diego, Calif. He then traveled to Poland and continued his training with the late Ludwik Stefanski of the Krakow Academy of Music.

At the 1990 Chopin International Piano competition in Warsaw, Kenner earned first prize in addition to the People's Prize and the Polonaise Prize. That same year, Kenner also won the bronze medal at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow – thereby making him one of a handful of artists ever to have medaled at both of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world.

Kenner's career has taken him to many countries, and he has performed with many orchestras and chamber ensembles. He is particularly interested in four-handed literature that he performs with his wife, English pianist Sonia Dembinska.

The Southern Miss Symphony season is sponsored by BancorpSouth. Tickets are $18, $16 and $14 and are available through the Southern Miss Ticket Office by calling (601) 266 5418 or 800-844-8425. Tickets may be ordered online at www.tickets.usm.edu.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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