Eckart Preu makes his debut with the RI Philharmonic on October 13th

Eckart Preu

  • “fiery conductor…kinetic style” – New York Times
  • Music Director of the Spokane Symphony, Stamford Symphony, and Cincinnati Chamber OrchestraEckart Preu
  • Career highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris and a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony
  • Early musical training was in piano and voice. At the age of 10, he became a member of the Boys Choir, Dresdner Kreuzchor
  • Came to the United States as winner of the National Conducting Competition of the German Academic Exchange Service for graduate studies at the Hartt School of Music

    Saint-Saëns’ Thundering “Organ Symphony” and pianist Alon Goldstein
    Guest Conductor: Eckart Preu

       TACO Classical Concert
       Saturday, October 14 • 8pm • The VETS
       AMICA Rush Hour Concert
       Friday, October 13 • 6:30pm • The VETS | 401.248.7000


Meet Amelia Nixon, RI Philharmonic Music School Community Partnerships Manager

Amelia Nixon HeadshotWhat is your favorite experience from the past year?

“This having been my first year as the coordinator of Link Up, I was not prepared for my emotional response to a concert hall full of students lifting their voices and joining the orchestra in singing and playing some of classical music’s finest repertoire. Hearing the beauty of these young peoples’ musicianship, and seeing the joy and awe on the faces of over 12,000 students, was one of the highlights of my professional career. I am impressed and moved by the depth of dedication of our participating teachers, ensuring that all students are prepared and engaged, and have a wonderful educational experience.

Link Up is also a fantastic example of 21st century music education — with a common-core aligned program, all stakeholders can be confident that English language arts, math and music learning standards are being taught in the music classroom and the concert hall using a high-quality and flexible curriculum.

I am immensely proud of the hard work that was showcased by these students and teachers, and I am honored to be a part of such a powerful music-making experience.”

Eckart Preu conducts Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony October 14 and Pianist Alon Goldstein returns for Mozart Piano Concerto No.20

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes guest conductor Eckart Preu to the podium at The VETS for a program including Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.3 (Organ), Del Aguila’s Conga-Line in Hell and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20, featuring pianist Alon Goldstein in a return engagement. The concert is Saturday, October 14, at 8:00pm. The AMICA Rush Hour concert is Friday, October 13 at 6:30pm.

Tickets are available, starting at $15, and can be purchased from the RI Philharmonic Box Office at or 401.248.7000 (M-F 9:00am – 4:30pm). 

“Eckart Preu has conducted major orchestras on several continents, and we’re excited to welcome him to Rhode Island,” said David Beauchesne, executive director of Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School. “We’re also delighted to welcome Philharmonic favorite Alon Goldstein back to The VETS for Mozart’s sparkling Piano Concerto No.20. This weekend also marks the opening of the season’s four-concert AMICA Rush Hour series, Fridays at 6:30pm.”

Saint-Saëns’ Thundering “Organ Symphony”
TACO Classical Concert
Saturday, October 14 at 8:00pm
The VETS, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence
Tickets start at $15, available at or 401.248.7000

Eckart Preu, conductor
Alon Goldstein, pianist

DEL AGUILA: Conga-Line in Hell
MOZART: Piano Concerto No.20
SAINT-SAËNS: Symphony No.3 (Organ)

AMICA Rush Hour Concert
Friday, October 13 at 6:30pm
The VETS, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence
Tickets start at $15, available at or 401.248.7000

About Eckart Preu, guest conductor 
Music Director of the Long Beach (CA) Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Symphony and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Eckart Preu has conducted major orchestras around the world. Career highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris and a live broadcast with the Jerusalem Symphony. A passionate performer of the core repertoire, Mr. Preu also advocates for “neglected” and contemporary music — a recent season featured works by no less than 13 living composers. Promoting American music, Mr. Preu has conducted premieres by William Thomas McKinley, Roger Davidson, Joan Tower, Leigh Baxter, Michael Daugherty and others. A native of Germany, Mr. Preu came to the United States in 1996 for graduate studies as winner of the National Conducting Competition of the German Academic Exchange Service. His earliest training was in piano and voice, with the boys choir Dresdner Kreuzchor.

About Alon Goldstein, pianist
Alon Goldstein made his debut at age 18 with the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Mr. Goldstein has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco, Baltimore, St. Louis, Houston, Vancouver, Kansas City and North Carolina symphonies, and with the Costa Rica National Symphony, the Budapest Philharmonic and the Bucharest Philharmonic. Highlights include Britten’s Diversions and Poulenc’s Double Concerto , conducted with his former teacher, Leon Fleisher, at the Ruhr Piano Festival; Mozart’s Double Concerto with Katherine Jacobson Fleisher, and Triple Concerto with Leon Fleisher and Ms. Jacobson Fleisher, with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia; and the premiere of Lost Souls, written for him by Avner Dorman, with the Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern. A passionate educator, Mr. Goldstein’s engagements include posts at The Steans Institute of the Ravinia Festival, The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and extended residencies across the country. His Naxos recording of Mozart’s piano concertos No.20 and No.21 with the Fine Arts Quartet is critically acclaimed.

About the concert: stories behind the music

Miguel del Aguila (1957- )
Conga-Line in Hell

Pushed to extremes: Characterized as “Philip Glass, but with a sense of humor,” Uruguayan-born composer, pianist and conductor Miguel del Aguila lives in southern California. In an interplay of classical balance and romantic excess, his music features simple musical ideas pushed to extremes by propulsive rhythms and adventurous instrumentation. After a sensuous middle section, Conga-Line in Hell rushes frantically toward the end to explode in a dramatic finale.

Poor dancers: The composer writes, “Conga began as a dream, the visual image of an endless line of dead people dancing through the fire of hell. I gradually started hearing the music, which was flowing spontaneously out of me in an effort to entertain and alleviate the pain of those poor souls. I woke up and wrote the music as I remembered it…humorous, sarcastic, grotesque, sensuous and at times also terrifying. I rely mainly on the dramatic and expressive qualities of rhythm to convey the evil forces that govern my imaginary hell….”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No.20 in D Minor, K. 466

Before the ink was dry: On February 10, 1785, Mozart finished his D Minor Piano Concerto as his father arrived in Vienna for a visit; he played the premiere in a concert that same evening. Father Leopold wrote to sister Nannerl: “…Your brother did not even have time to play through the Rondo, as he had to supervise the copying…”

In the key of doom: Mozart took a new tack with this music in D minor — the key of doom in Don Giovanni, the key of sorrow in the Requiem. There may be a connection between these and the concerto’s premiere during the first days of Lent. In any case, it is a strikingly Romantic work, full of drama and tragedy sharply contrasted with sublimity and innocence.

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Symphony No.3 in C minor, op.78 (Organ Symphony)

Swan song: Completed in 1886 at the peak of Saint-Saëns’ career, the Third Symphony was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and premiered in London’s St. James’ Hall. The composer wrote, “I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again.” Perhaps knowing it would be his last symphony, he showcased brilliant Romantic orchestral writing, virtuoso piano passages and the sound of a cathedral-sized pipe organ. After the death of his friend Franz Liszt, Saint-Saëns dedicated the work to Liszt’s memory.

Respect:  The Organ Symphony is one of the late 19th century’s most sophisticated orchestral works. Familiar in film (Babe) and other pop-culture, it’s easy to overlook its innovations: only two movements, and the use of keyboards — four-hands piano as well as organ — for a dazzling fantasia on the main theme of the finale. Saint-Saëns creates both gigantic and intimate worlds, following the ideas of thematic transformation that Liszt pioneered, in symphonic language. In the final coda, after the fugue, the theme speeds up until time seems to slow down, as the thundering organ plays a bass line so low that we feel the notes, rather than hear them.


Meet Violinist Simone Porter


  • Her performances have been described as “bold” (Seattle Times) and “virtuosic” (London Times)
  • At 19 years of age, Ms. Porter has already appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • She was named a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in March 2015
  • Ms. Porter made her Carnegie Hall debut on the Emmy Award-winning TV show From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall
  • She plays on a 1745 J.B. Guadagnini violin on generous loan from The Mandell Collection of Southern California.

Opening Weekend!
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with violinist Simone Porter
Guest Conductor: James Sommerville

   TACO Classical Concert
   Saturday, September 16 • 8pm • The VETS
   Open Rehearsal
   Friday, September 15 • 5:30pm • The VETS | 401.248.7000

Meet Abby Magoon, RI Philharmonic Music School Faculty Member

Abby MagoonWhat is your favorite part of your job?

“My favorite part of my job is when a student has an ‘Aha!’ moment – a moment of inspiration, creativity, connection, joy. It’s always encouraging to see students making technical advancements, but my real delight and motivation comes from being able to share what I love with my students and, in turn, watching them grow in their own love for music and life, and embracing all the challenges that come along with it.”

James Sommerville makes his debut with the RI Philharmonic on September 16th

James SommervilleSommerville_HPO

  • “an inspiring and inspired conductor” –
  • Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra from 2007 to 2014
  • Active guest conductor and soloist, and Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Music Director of the Canadian National Brass Project
  • Faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University
  • Lifelong advocate of new music in general and of young composers

Opening Weekend!
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with violinist Simone Porter
Guest Conductor: James Sommerville

   TACO Classical Concert
   Saturday, September 16 • 8pm • The VETS
   Open Rehearsal
   Friday, September 15 • 5:30pm • The VETS | 401.248.7000