From the North Suburban Symphony:  by cellist, Nancy J. Thorner

north suburban symphony

Internationally acclaimed pianist Susan Merdinger of Highland Park to perform for North Suburban Symphony

The North Suburban Symphony, a thriving community orchestra in Lake Forest in association with the Lake Bluff Park District, will present the first concert of its 24th Concert Season on Sunday, October 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Gorton Community Center Auditorium, at 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest. Ron Arden, Music Director and Conductor, is beginning his sixth season with the NSS.

During the 2012 – 2013 concert season the NSS will travel around the world in a musical tour of America, Germany, Russia, and Italy. Each of these countries holds a special place in the history of music and in the hearts of all musicians on the symphonic concert stage. You will hear standard classical works alongside jazz, ballet , and opera with wonderful soloists book-ending the four stops of the orchestra’s musical tour.

It is appropriate that the first stop of our musical tour on October 7th should be in America, with a concert entitled American Spirit — A Celebration of Jazz and Symphonic Pops celebrating the genius of musical greats George Gershwin, Leroy Anderson, and Morton Gould.

Featured soloist on the program will be internationally acclaimed pianist Susan Merdinger of Highland Park, who will perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects. “Rhapsody in Blue” has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works since its premier in 1924 by bandleader Paul Whiteman New York city with Gershwin playing the piano. The clarinet solo at the beginning of the “Rhapsody in Blue” is sure to capture your attention as performed by principal clarinetist, Scott Schappe, who is a full time Associate Professor of Physics at Lake Forest College.

Among her many accomplishment, Ms. Merdinger is a First Prize Winner of the 2012 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano competition, and a winner of the Artists International Alumni Winners Prize and the 2011 IBLA Grand Prize Competition “Special Liszt Award. She has also performed as a collaborative pianist with principal members of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Live performances include WQXR, WFMT, Belgian National Radio, BBC Television and in major concert halls such as Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, and the Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center and Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. Merdinger received her formal musical education at the Yale School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and the Ecole Normale de Musique in Fontainebleau, France. She is on the Piano Faculty of the New Music School of Chicago.

Leroy Anderson built a career by composing sophisticated short works for orchestra such as “Sleigh Ride” (a Christmas-time favorite) and “The Typewriter.” Compositions to be performed by Anderson on Oct. 7th are “Waltzing Cat,” “Syncopated Clock,” and “Old Mac Donald.” Anderson was all set to take a job as a language instructor upon graduation from Harvard. Thanks to conductor Arthur Fiedler, Anderson was encouraged to compose and continued on with a career in music. This was especially expressed in a long collaboration with Fiedler and the Boston Pops. The world is richer for it.

The third American composer to be featured is Morton Gould. During his long life Gould was celebrated as a composer for Broadway, film, and television, as well as the concert stage. Gould’s “American Salute” (Based on “When Johnny comes Marching Home”) opens this concert. It was written during World War I I and since then has become Gould’s most popular work. Morton Gould attended a performance of his “American Salute” by the United States Military Academy Concert Band on the last evening of his life.

Ending this grand celebration will be “Salute to the Big Bands” featuring well known standards like “April in Paris”, “Pennsylvania 6, 5,000″, and many more. Sure to set your foot a tappin’, you will be transported back to the era of big bands without ever having to leave your seat!

Bring the entire family and friends to an afternoon of music that is planned to please both young and old – and all those in between.

Tickets prices: $18.00 for adults – $10 for Seniors/Adults – Children under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult.

Ticket can be ordered ahead of time by calling 847-295-1035 or purchased at the door on the day of the concert.

Check out the NSS website at