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A novel approach to Schubert concert

The Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Hsun-Ling Chou, will perform an interesting and festive all-Schubert program Sleeping with Schubert April 21-22 at 8 p.m. in Baker Hall.

The program will feature the charming “Italian Overture in C Major” as well as “Symphony No. 9 in C Major, the Great.” In addition, Bonnie Marson, the author of the best-selling novel Sleeping with Schubertwill hold a pre-show lecture and book signing at 7 p.m. both nights. She’ll also sign books during the intermission. The lecture and book signing are free and open to the public. The ninth annual Lehigh University Concerto Competition winner, cellist Courtney Kelly will also perform Dmitri Kabalevsky’s “Concerto for Cello No.1 in G Minor.”

Marson’s Sleeping with Schubert is the story of what happens when the soul of the legendary 19th century composer Franz Schubert takes up residence in the body of 21st century Brooklyn lawyer Liza Durbin. Durbin finds herself thrust into the classical music world, studying with a top pianist at Juilliard, playing at Carnegie Hall, recording for Sony Classical, touring the world, and becoming a celebrity.

Film rights for the book have been acquired by Paramount Pictures and Eugenia Zuckerman of The Washington Post praises the novelist’s first effort, calling it “…a dazzling, touching, funny and original tale. Marson's tone is pitch perfect, her storytelling is both polished and surprising, and her ability to make her characters as zany as they are lovable is alchemic.”

Under Chou’s direction, the Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra has grown from a mere handful of students into a full symphonic orchestra of over ninety members that performs in Baker Hall at the Zoellner Arts Center on the campus of Lehigh University. Presently, it is a mature program involving about 100 members, most of whom are undergraduate students majoring in disciplines outside of music.

In addition to concerts on the Lehigh campus, Chou has led the Lehigh University Philharmonic in performances in the United States, Austria, the People’s Republic of China, and at the Ofecina de Musica in Curitiba, an international music festival in Brazil. In May 2006, they will be touring its fifth continent when they travel to South Africa in May 2006 for performances with the Johannesburg Symphony Chorus. Both at home and abroad, the orchestra has performed to sold-out audiences, and the press has described Chou’s unprecedented success of the orchestra as “having worked a miracle”.

As a violinist, Chou’s virtuosity has been described as stunning, combining electric energy and tenderness. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the International Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Grant Park Symphony and the San Angelo Symphony. He has also given concerts extensively abroad having appeared in Canada, People’s Republic of China, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Chou has recorded for the BMG/Catalyst label and also has recorded with the progressive rock band Shadow Gallery on the Magna Carta label.

Chou received his formal training at Indiana University earning a Bachelor of Music with high distinction studying the violin under Franco Gulli and the viola with Georges Janzer. He also holds a Master of Music from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook. Currently an associate professor of music, Chou is the founder and director of the Lehigh University Orchestra Program and the Lehigh University Chamber Music Collegium. In recognition of his accomplishments at Lehigh University, he was recently named the Ronald J. Ulrich Chair of Orchestral Studies.

Tickets for the April 21 and 22 performances are $18. Discounts are available. For tickets, please call Zoellner Ticket Services at 610-758-2787 (7LU-ARTS) or order online.

Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2006

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