As is its tradition, the Racine Symphony Orchestra will honor summer with two pops concerts — one that features the music of “American Originals” Leroy Anderson and George Gershwin, and another that will bring the focus even closer to home, with local guest artists Curt Hanrahan (sax) and Bob Benson (vocals) to “Celebrate Racine,”
As it does so, the RSO will also be celebrating its newly appointed concertmaster, Alexander “Sascha” Mandl.
The symphony recently announced the appointment of Mandl — a violinist and conductor who began performing with the RSO in 2011 — as concertmaster. As such, he will serve as a leader of the 60-plus member orchestra, assisting the RSO’s artistic director and conductor, Pasquale Laurino, while continuing to perform as first chair violin.
Mandl’s credentials for the new post are many. Having earned undergraduate and advanced music degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Yale universities — as well as a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison — the Brazilian violinist also serves as concertmaster of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. He was also concertmaster of the Beloit Symphony for nine years. Mandl is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. And he has performed and conducted throughout North and South America and Europe, collaborating with a variety of musicians and orchestras. His full biography is available on his website at http://saschamandl.com/biography.
Your first opportunity to hear the RSO with its new concertmaster will be Friday, June 28, when it performs “American Originals” at Festival Hall at 7 p.m. The “Celebrate Racine” summer pops concert will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, also at Festival Hall. And if you are looking for a more unusual opportunity to experience — and support — the symphony this summer, consider its Music for a Summer Evening program, “Jazz in July,” which will be presented by the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread on Saturday, July 20. Tickets for this event are a bit pricier than the regular concerts, as it is a fundraising event. But, in addition to the opportunity to hear RSO musicians perform music outside the orchestra’s usual repertoire, the Summer Evening programs also offer an elegant buffet of hors d’oeuvres and desserts, as well as beverages and coffee.
The rest of the RSO’s 2013/2014 season also offers interesting musical adventures, from its “Music with a Spanish Accent” Masterworks Concert on Oct. 26, to its “Old Clock, New Hands” performance in April (plus a few others in between). Details for all of them are available at www.racinesymphony.org.
Lee Roberts is the arts and entertainment reporter for The Journal Times. Scene & Heard appears every other Thursday. Lee can be reached at (262) 631-1755, by email at email@example.com and by mail at 212 Fourth St., Racine, WI 53403.