Dr. Ellen Elder Kicks Off Symphony Orchestra’s 97th Season Sept. 29

By | Performances

When Dr. Jay Dean takes to the podium to open the 97th season of The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium, it will kick off a musical parade that sees the venerable symphony performing music from across the spectrum of the musical genres.


The gala opening night encourages patrons to dress up and enjoy an evening on the town, at a program entitled The Power of Influence. The concert includes three of the most famous works in the symphonic repertoire, the Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann’s famous Piano Concerto in A minor and Johannes Brahms’ spectacular Symphony No. 2 in D major.

Southern Miss piano faculty member Ellen Elder will be the featured soloist performing the Schumann concerto. Also conducting on the program will be assistant conductor, Ivan del Prado.

Brahms came under the influence of Schumann beginning in the early 1850s. His relationship with both Robert and Clara Schumann had a significant and long-lasting effect on his musical and personal life.  When one hears a concert where Schumann opens the program and Brahms brings it to a close, it is impossible not to hear and feel the powerful relationship between the two.

Dean has led the orchestra to enjoy an international reputation that enhances not only the university, but also the state and region. The symphony regularly performs to sold-out houses with audience members representing a diverse cross-section of the southeastern United States. His recruiting efforts have turned the organization into a multinational conglomerate.

Dean’s vision literally has brought the world to Mississippi, including performances across the state with internationally known classical icons such as Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma, to popular artists such as Doc Severinsen, The Pointer Sisters, Patti La Belle, Dionne Warwick and Sandi Patty.

Tickets are available through Southern Miss Ticket Office; 800.844.8425, 601.266.5418 or www.southernmisstickets.com. For questions, contact the Symphony Orchestra at 601.266.4001.

Southern Miss School of Music Pianists to Perform in Peru

By | Performances

Dr. Ellen Elder and Dr. Elizabeth Moak, piano faculty from The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music, will travel to Lima, Peru, where they have been invited to perform at the National Conservatory of Music.

The accomplished pianists will present solo recitals and master classes during the week of Oct. 17, 2016, and will also participate in a Piano Festival co-organized by the Conservatory and the Patronato Peruano de la Música.

“International exchanges by our artist faculty are critically important to Southern Miss on multiple levels. They showcase our faculty on the world stage, serving to cement the standing of the School of Music as THE flagship music institution of not only Mississippi, but of the entire Southeastern United States” said Dr. Richard Kravchak, director of the school. “They highlight the fact that our entire institution is fully engaged with the international community.”

Elder’s recital will feature works by Haydn, Albright, Liszt, and Schumann. Moak’s recital will feature works by Beethoven, Jacquet de La Guerre, Zaimont, and Fernândez.

“This trip is a continuation of the academic cooperation that was first initiated when Dr. Carmen Escobedo, General Director of the Conservatory, performed at USM last year,” said Elder. “This will be another step towards paving the way for an official agreement between the Conservatory and Southern Miss.”

“These amazing young people not only raise our level of performance, but they give our domestic students the opportunity to live, work, and study side by side with students from a different culture” said Kravchak.

Elder teaches applied piano to graduate and undergraduate piano majors at Southern Miss and serves as director and teacher in the Southern Miss Piano Institute that she founded in 2011. She is an active collaborator with faculty and guest artists. Her college and pre-college students receive numerous awards and honors for their performance.  She is also the featured soloist on the opening night of this year’s Symphony Orchestra season on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center.

A dedicated teacher, Moak is currently on the faculty of the University of Southern Mississippi and previously was selected for a Teaching Fellow at Peabody Conservatory, as well as for the “Outstanding Young Faculty” Award from Millsaps College. Noted for her “sensitivity” and “generous imagination” (La Suisse), she has performed throughout the United States and internationally.

“The trip to Peru, a country that will be celebrating its bicentennial just five years from now, is a very exciting occasion,” noted Moak. “And who can imagine what it must have been like approximately 150 years ago for pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk who hailed from the South to travel via steamer to Peru for concerts? It is our hope that pianists as well as other musicians will travel more frequently between Southern Miss and Peru in a rich cross-fertilization.”

Winner of the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition and the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Auditions among others, Moak holds the Diplôme de Virtuosité with highest honors from the Neuchâtel Conservatory (Switzerland) and the DMA in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (studies with Leon Fleisher, Julian Martin, and Ann Schein).

For more information on Elder’s appearance with the Symphony, call 601.266.4001. Tickets are available at the Southern Miss Ticket Office, 800.844.8425, 601.266.5418 or www.southernmisstickets.com.