The San Bernardino Symphony will perform their annual matinee concert, “Peter and the Wolf,” January 26 at 3 p.m. Presented in large part by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the concert will include Sergei Prokofiev’s fanciful musical tale, as well as Carlos Chávez’s “Sinfonia India,” Aaron Copland’s “Billy the Kid,” and Manuel de Falla’s “Fire Dance.” In addition, the Mariachi Youth Academy will open the show with a special performance.
The story of Peter and the Wolf has been many a young person’s introduction to orchestral instruments. Peter, his grandfather, and each of the woodland creatures the teen encounters in his adventures is portrayed by a specific instrument. Written in 1936 with the intent to cultivate musical tastes in young people, the piece was completed in just four days. Although it was not well-received initially, over the years it has become a family classic inspiring several big screen adaptations and numerous audio recordings by a wide variety of artists.
Narrating Peter and the Wolf will be former San Bernardino mayor Judith Valles who currently serves as Symphony Board President.
“We are so excited that Judith agreed to narrate,” said Symphony Music Director and Conductor Frank Fetta. “The commanding timbre of her voice and her natural abilities on the stage will make this a performance to remember.”
Chávez’s “Sinfonia India,” composed in 1935-36, also prominently features brass and woodwinds. Based on three Native American melodies – Huicholes of Nayarit, the Yaquis of Sonora, and the Seris of Tiburón Island in Baja California – it has been performed and recorded by orchestras worldwide.
Excerpts from compositions by Copland and Falla will round out the afternoon. Written as a ballet in 1938, Copland’s “Billy the Kid” follows the life of infamous outlaw William J. “Billy” Bonney. As the name implies, this popular composition draws heavily from cowboy tunes and American folk music. Written in 1915, Falla’s Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance) is a brief, increasingly frenetic composition filled with fast musical trills and flourishes. In the ballet choreographed for the piece, a young gypsy girl named Candela is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband. To vanquish him, all the gypsies make a large circle around their campfire at midnight and Candela performs the Ritual Fire Dance causing the ghost to appear. She dances with him, whirling faster and faster and the ghost is drawn into the fire, making it vanish forever.
For the third year, a Family Music Festival will be held in the California Room prior to the concert. Young people can get a hands-on experience with the musical instruments they are about to hear at the Instrument Petting Zoo, and they can hear other young people from local school musical groups perform.
As with all San Bernardino Symphony concerts, “Peter and the Wolf” will be performed at the historic California Theatre, 562 W. 4th Street, San Bernardino.
Special family pricing is available enabling all to extend the warmth of the holidays with this very special family event. Tickets may be purchased by calling (909) 381-5388 or visiting the Symphony office at 198 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino. General admission tickets are also available on line at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org, and with limited availability at the theater box office the afternoon of the event.