WILSON, N.C. — Celebrate Valentine’s Day in gala fashion with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Feb. 14, at the twenty-third annual “Love the Symphony.” A much-anticipated annual event, this season’s “Love the Symphony” concert will feature pianist Eric Mazonson.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. A candlelight buffet dinner will immediately follow the program at 8 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person, and reservations may be made by calling Luann Clark at 252-399-6309. Please note that tables for eight are available by reservation. The reservation deadline is Friday, Feb. 7. No tickets will be mailed.

Under the direction of conductor Mark N. Peterson, the orchestra will present a concert of light classical and contemporary music. The evening’s program will feature what Peterson describes as a “grab-bag of musical goodies, with selections including George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” the ever popular “Blue Danube” waltz, a swinging tribute to the Big Bands, the patriotic “National Emblem March,” and more. For “Rhapsody in Blue,” the orchestra welcomes a return performance with Mazonson. “It is such a delight to welcome my longtime friend and musical collaborator Eric here for this performance,” said Peterson. “He is a remarkable pianist who excels in so many styles of music, and his conception of “Rhapsody in Blue” is simply brilliant.”

Mazonson received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Boston University, where he studied piano with Anthony di Bonaventura, and was studio accompanist for violist Walter Trampler and cellist Leslie Parnas, both founding members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His wide-ranging repertoire has been heard in many solo, chamber music, and vocal recitals in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Mazonson was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point from 1979 to 1982, where he founded the Olympus Chamber Players, a piano-woodwind sextet that performed throughout the Northeast. He was affiliated with Bradford College for a several years, where he taught piano, accompanied the chorus, and helped to arrange scores for musical theatre productions.

In 2003, Mazonson performed at Jordan Hall during its centennial celebration. He accompanied the Brandeis University Chorus for several years, and has been a faculty member of Roger Williams University, the University of Rhode Island, and Providence College. He has toured Italy and Ireland with the University of Rhode Island’s Concert Choir, and accompanied them from the organ of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where Händel’s “Messiah” was first performed.  He has appeared as soloist with a number of orchestras, most recently performing Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Concerto with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra. He serves on the faculty of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School and Moses Brown School in Providence.  He has accompanied the Lexington Master Singers, in Massachusetts, for many years.  Also an organist, Mazonson currently serves as music director of Fisk Memorial United Methodist Church in Natick, Mass.

As this distinguished event’s popularity continues to grow with an ever-increasing number of guest reservations each year, Wilson Gymnasium on the Barton campus provides a spacious and elegantly transformed environment to provide the perfect backdrop for sweethearts and friends to enjoy time-honored classics performed by the orchestra.

“Love the Symphony” is sponsored by BB&T WEALTH.

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