Celebrated pianist to highlight Southwest Symphony’s ‘From Russia, With Love’ concert

Celebrated pianist Josh Wright poses in this undated promotional photo. Wright will be the guest soloist for the Southwest Symphony's "From Russia With Love" concert Jan. 26 at Dixie State University | Photo courtesy of Josh Wright, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Southwest Symphony maestro Lucas Darger has announced that Josh Wright will be the guest soloist at the symphony’s upcoming concert Jan. 26, performing Rachmaninoff’s celebrated 3rd piano concerto. Themed “From Russia, with Love,” the symphony’s all-Russian program also pays homage to the composer who inspired Rachmaninoff himself – the legendary Tchaikovsky – with a performance of his 4th symphony.

“Performing the two works in their entirety is a monumental challenge, and the orchestra has relished the opportunity to perform these masterpieces.” Darger said. “The Rachmaninoff is one of my personal favorites, combining rich lyricism with incredible virtuosity in a way only Rachmaninoff could compose, and we’re delighted such a brilliant and engaging pianist as Josh Wright will be coming to Southern Utah to play this extraordinary work.”

Wright has delighted audiences across the country and Europe, for just shy of two decades. The Washington Post describes him as a pianist possessing “rarer gifts – touch, intelligence and the ability to surprise.” He performed his debut recitals at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and his self-titled album “Josh Wright” topped the Billboard Classical Traditional chart just three weeks after its release. He has also performed at Dolby Theater in Los Angeles as part of “America’s Got Talent” season 9.

Wright’s prize-winning prowess knows no bounds. Accolades include prizewinner at the 2015 National Chopin Competition, winner of Mazurka prize, third prize and audience prize at the 2014 Washington International Piano Competition, first prize at the 2013 Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition, first prize at the 2013 Rosamond P. Haeberle Piano Award competition, gold medal at the 2010 Seattle International Piano Competition and first prize at the 2010 American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music. He was the second prize winner of the 2011 Music Teachers National Association National Competition. In addition, Wright was also a top prizewinner in the New York Piano Competition, the Louisiana International Piano Competition and the Julia Crane International Piano Competition.

Wright has appeared frequently with symphony orchestras such as the Utah Symphony, Temple Square Orchestra, Salt Lake Symphony, Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, SummerArts Orchestra and the University of Utah Student Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to his true-to-form performances, Wright is passionate about teaching, creating numerous online video courses to help students of all ages and abilities improve their technique and musicality. He has appeared as a guest lecturer and master class presenter at several festivals and colleges, including in Italy at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, University of Utah International Keyboard Institute, Utah Valley University Piano Festival, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Snow College and Shoreline Community College in Seattle. He has broadened his studio via Skype, where he teaches students on four continents.

Wright has released six albums: Meditation (2015), My Favorite Things (2013), Josh Wright (2011), Gaspard (2010), The Complete Chopin Etudes (2003) and Josh Wright Debut (2000).

Wright earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan, having earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Utah, with Logan Skelton and Susan Duehlmeier as principal teachers. He has also studied privately with concert pianist Sergei Babayan. Wright is married to Lindsey Wright, who earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Utah. He serves on the piano faculty at the University of Utah and Snow College.

Alyce Stevens Gardner, Southwest Symphony board chair, said Wright’s combination of power, poetry and speed will make this a dazzling event patrons will not want to miss.

“We’ve had full houses at every concert this season, so book your tickets now if you want to get a great seat,” Darger said.

This one-time-only performance will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, at the M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center on the campus of Dixie State University, located at 350 S. University Ave. in St. George.

Tickets are $12-$24 and may be purchased online or at the DSU Central Ticketing Office at 435-652-7800. Student discounts are available for $5 off any seat with coupon code “5student” online or at the box office located in the Cox Performing Arts Center.

Event details

  • What: Southwest Symphony Orchestra “From Russia, With Love.”
  • When: Friday, Jan. 26, 7:30 pm.
  • Where: M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center, 350 S. University Ave. (700 East), St. George.
  • Cost: $12-$24.
  • Purchase tickets: Online or at the DSU Central Ticketing Office at 435-652-7800.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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