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Released May 18, 2004


HATTIESBURG--From beginning to end, the 2004-05 Symphony Orchestra season at The University of Southern Mississippi boasts a lineup of stars to shine on campus and beyond, including world-famous flutist Sir James Galway and tenor Placido Domingo.

Jay Dean, conductor of the Symphony, sings high praises for the special guest artists as he continues to program classical, audience-friendly concerts.

"Our season is the 'hottest ticket in town,'" Dean said. "We will be performing great classical music, chosen for its beauty and artistry, with artists of world-renowned stature. Our two main artists are known to people from all walks of life."

Of note, the Symphony at Southern Miss has hosted or will host this season the top four classical artists performing today--violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Domingo, and Galway. All of these artists have made or will make their Mississippi debuts with the Southern Miss orchestra, under Dean's direction.

Officially opening the Symphony's 84th season Oct. 6 is guest artist Galway, whom Dean proclaims as "the world's greatest flutist." He is internationally regarded as both a matchless interpreter of the classical repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose charismatic appeal crosses all musical boundaries.

"Sir James Galway has appeared with every major symphony orchestra in the world," Dean said. "We have been trying to book him here for the last five or six years, but he spends most of his time playing in Europe. This year, we were fortunate to have him accept our invitation, and it will be Sir Galway's first time to perform in Mississippi."

Galway's unique sound, superb musicianship, and dazzling virtuosity have made him one of the most respected and sought-after performing artists of our time. Through extensive worldwide tours, numerous best-selling BMG Classics, RCA Victor and RCA Red Seal recordings, and his frequent television and video appearances, he has endeared himself to millions of music lovers.

"Sir Galway probably has done more to make the general public aware of the lovely sound of the flute than anyone else of his generation," said Sharon Lebsack, professor of flute in the School of Music at Southern Miss. "In addition to his classical repertoire, he has recorded such songs as John Denver's "Annie's Song," and plays with The Chieftains, a popular Irish folk group."

Lebsack, who has met Galway at master classes and conventions on several occasions, characterizes him as someone who "displays a wonderful sense of humor, but never at the expense of his music and demands the best from himself and those around him."

Toward end the 2004-05 season, Dean and the Symphony will perform with famed tenor Placido Domingo on April 2, 2005, at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. Featuring another sought-after artist in the making for the last five years, the evening has been billed as "the concert event of a lifetime."

Joining the orchestra in producing such an extraordinary event is the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi. "We approached the Beau Rivage because we felt they would be an able partner in producing such a world-class event. Also, we wanted to present this concert in a large venue, so more people would have a chance to see this wonderful performer."

For 45 years, since he was 16 years old, Domingo has never stopped working, and the more he studies, travels and performs, the more he feels fulfilled. He was born with an unusually flexible voice and learned to use it properly.

He has sung in every major opera house in the world and has made more than 100 recordings--of which 97 are full-length operas--often recording the same role more than once and has earned 11 Grammys, including two Grammys in the newly established Latin Division.

Domingo has made more than 50 videos and three theatrically released films, Zeffirelli's "La Traviata" and "Otello" and Rosi's "Carmen." One billion people in 117 different countries watched his telecast of "Tosca" from the authentic settings in Rome.

The tenor reached the pinnacle of fame when he teamed with two fellow world-renowned tenors July 7, 1990, in Rome, and a phenomenon was born. That night, framed by stark and beautiful ruins, three remarkable tenor voices joined together for the first time in one performance. Six thousand lucky souls were there to witness history.

José Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, and Domingo had come together to celebrate Carreras' return to music and the stage following his bout with leukemia. Since, they have presented many memorable concerts around the world as The Three Tenors.

"Domingo adds another level of prestige to our orchestra program and to the credibility we are constantly building with each passing season," Dean said. "It gets no better and no bigger than this."

Between the performances by Galway and Domingo, the Southern Miss Symphony season includes a concert Nov. 4 featuring Southern Miss School of Music faculty members Lois Leventhal, piano, and Richard Perry, tuba, in a program called "Twice as Grand"; a Christmas holiday spectacular Dec. 3 at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg; the William T. Gower Awards concert Jan. 27, 2005; "A Royal Romance" concert Feb. 14, 2005, featuring The King's Violins; Carlisle Floyd's opera "Susannah" in a 50th -anniversary celebration production Feb. 23, 26, and 27, 2005; and an evening of "Organ and Choral Masterworks" May 5, 2005, featuring Jackson Borges on organ.

"Our audiences have been very positive about our concentrated effort to bring great classical music to our concert hall during the 2003-04 season," Dean said. "There is so much great literature that we can share with our patrons and so many wonderfully talented performers for us to draw upon in presenting these programs."

Back for another year as the Symphony's sponsor is BancorpSouth.

"We are proud to continue our relationship with BancorpSouth, as they have been so supportive of the symphony family," Dean said. "We appreciate the support they have given to the university over the years and now, more specifically, to the university's Symphony."

The 2004-05 Symphony season ticket packages go on sale May 19, ranging in price per person from $120 to $160 without a Domingo ticket and from $135 to $450 with a Domingo ticket. Tickets are available through the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425. Tickets may be also ordered online at

For more information, call the Symphony office at (601) 266-4001 or visit


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May 21, 2004 3:43 PM