“Roaring Rhapsody” Revives Concertos for Black History Month - TribPapers

“Roaring Rhapsody” Revives Concertos for Black History Month

Pianist Xiiayn Wang,

Asheville The Asheville Symphony presents an evening of inspiring works by William Grant Still and Will Marion Cook in celebration of Black History Month, alongside Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Dvořák.

This is ASO’s second concert in its 2021-22 Masterworks Series: Roaring Rhapsody — a celebration of diversity of great American orchestral music featuring guest pianist Xiayin Wang. The concert takes place Saturday, February 12 at 8 p.m. in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville under the baton of ASO Music Director Darko Butorac.

The evening showcases moving works by two Black American composers in celebration of Black History Month: Will Marion Cook’s Overture from In Dahomey and William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony. Rounding out the program are Gershwin’s beloved “Rhapsody in Blue” — on the 98th anniversary of its original premiere in New York City — and the second movement from Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony.

“Just like our country itself, America’s musical history is a melting pot of influences, and we are showcasing that in our “Roaring Rhapsody” program,” said Asheville Symphony Music Director Darko Butorac. “The music you’ll hear includes clear influences of African American spirituals and jazz, as well as traditional European symphonic expressions.”

For Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” the ASO welcomes guest pianist Xiayin Wang.

Praised by The New York Times for her “estimable grasp of pianistic color and her ability to maintain and illuminate a strand of melody within the thickest of textures,” Wang has released numerous celebrated recordings and performed throughout the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, to music centers in South America, Europe, and Asia. According to Musical America, “She can be at one moment sensual and the next rhythmically driving…with such assuredness, such delicacy, that one forgets the difficulties inherent in the performance, and is left breathless in musical awe.”

“Xiayin Wang is an expert interpreter of Gershwin’s works, so our audience is in for a treat with her performance of ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’” said Asheville Symphony Executive Director Daniel Crupi. “Getting to see an artist in their element like this is always an exciting experience.”

Tickets for Masterworks 2: Roaring Rhapsody start at $25 for adults and $15 for youth (prices vary by seating section). Tickets can be purchased online at ashevillesymphony.org, by phone at 828-254-7046, in person at the Asheville Symphony office at 27 College Pl., Suite 100, or at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville Box Office.

For more information on the Asheville Symphony’s COVID-19 safety policies, visit


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