The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra opens its 94th season Thursday, Oct. 3 with famed flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson. Just over a week later, they travel to the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort in Biloxi to perform with the internationally acclaimed Beach Boys on Friday, Oct. 11.
“Every year, we try to present diverse musical offerings for our community,” said Dr. Jay Dean, music director. “This year we extend our season opening with the best of classical and the best of popular music in the span of just over a week.”
Opening night is entitled “Eternal Elegance” and features the music of Mozart and Beethoven. Guest artist and conductor Wilson has appeared as a soloist, conductor and in concert with some of the greatest orchestras and artists of our time, including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony, Frederica von Stade, Jessye Norman, Thomas Hampson, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Hilary Hahn, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sir James Galway, and many others.
The anticipation is palpable as orchestra members prepare for diverse musical styles with internationally renowned artists of such diverse genres. Echoing through the halls of the music building are strains of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and “California Girls.” It’s quite an eclectic mix, but one with which the venerable orchestra is familiar.
Having performed with classical celebrities from Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, to name a few, to popular icons including Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick and the Pointer Sister, the Symphony at Southern Miss has become a statewide treasure for its incomparable musicianship and innovative programming.
That programming continues as the orchestra tours to perform with the internationally acclaimed Beach Boys for a one-night-only concert event. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and recipients of The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, The Beach Boys are a beloved American institution that remains iconic around the world.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to be exposed to iconic American treasures like the Beach Boys. Any time our students can interact with first-rate musicians, it is beneficial to their musical growth, and learning new styles of music with which they are unfamiliar stretches their versatility, making them more marketable as musicians,” said Dr. Michael Miles, director of the School of Music, who will conduct the performance.
“I personally jumped at the opportunity to conduct this concert because I spent a lot of time as a teenager listening to this uniquely American band and always enjoyed their music. It will be fun to sing along as I conduct.”
Season and individual tickets are available at the Southern Miss Ticket Office by calling 601.266.5418 or 800.844.8425 or visiting www.southernmisstickets.com. Tickets to the Beach Boys event are not included in the season package, but are ticketed separately at 888.566.7469.