Barton College/Wilson Symphony to Feature Canadian Virtuoso

Jeremy ThompsonWILSON, N.C. – The Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra will present their Spring Concert on Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m. in the new Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre on the Barton campus. The symphony, under the direction of Mark N. Peterson, will welcome back to the Barton stage the internationally acclaimed pianist Jeremy Thompson to perform Edvard Grieg’s hauntingly romantic “Piano Concerto in A Minor.” The orchestra will also play two beloved works of Franz Schubert: the “Unfinished Symphony” and “The Rosamunde Overture.”

Currently residing in Goldsboro, Dr. Thompson has performed throughout North America and Europe, thrilling audiences with his virtuosity and the emotional and intellectual depth of his playing.  He was born in Dipper Harbour, a small fishing village in New Brunswick, Canada. In 2005, Dr. Thompson earned a Doctorate of Music in piano performance from McGill University, where he held two of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral fellowships. During his studies, he performed with orchestras such as the Saint Petersburg State Academic Orchestra, the Saratov Philharmonic Orchestra, the Georgian National Orchestra, and the McGill Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Thompson has performed and given master-classes at various colleges and universities throughout North America and is in demand as a collaborative pianist. He is comfortable with music from all eras yet specializes in a highly virtuosic repertoire. Although his range is expansive both as a solo performer and as a collaborative pianist, Dr. Thompson has a personal interest in championing the works of Canada’s major composers such as Brian Cherney, Jose Evangelista, and Jean Papineau-Couture. He currently serves as the Director of Music Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of Goldsboro.

Dr. Thompson will be performing on a Fazioli concert grand piano furnished by Ruggero Piano Company of Raleigh. Hand-made in Italy, the Fazioli pianos are considered by concert artists the world over to be the finest pianos anywhere. “It’s like driving a Lamborghini,” said Thompson. “There is no way to describe its amazing responsiveness and power.” Dr. Thompson considers this piano to be the perfect instrument for the Grieg concerto.

Ever since its triumphant first performance, the “Grieg Piano Concerto” has been a warhorse of the classical repertoire. It has been performed and recorded countless times by the world’s finest pianists and orchestras and is considered by many to be the greatest concerto ever written. Its reputation is justly deserved, for this is a concerto of many moods, which spins an almost magical lyricism that audiences find utterly captivating. Grieg, composing this work at the age of 24, infused his concerto with German romanticism along with rhythms and melodic patterns from his native Norway. In spite of such enormous success, Grieg never completed another concerto; thus this work can be perfectly and precisely identified as the “Grieg Concerto.”

No one knows for sure why Schubert’s “Symphony no. 8” is unfinished, although speculation abounds. This much is certain; after the Austrian music society in Graz gave Schubert an honorary diploma, he reciprocated by submitting the score for a symphony in B-minor to his friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who was the Viennese representative of the society. Inexplicably, Hüttenbrenner never delivered the work but kept it in a desk for over 42 years. When he finally showed the two-movement score to conductor Johann von Herbeck in 1865, the symphony was finally given a proper premier in Vienna and quickly became an indispensable part of every orchestra’s repertoire.

When Schubert’s attempt at grand opera, “Alfonso und Estrella,” failed, he did everything possible to save the opera’s wonderful overture. One year later, the work became the overture to the incidental music that he composed for the play “Rosamunde.” The play was also a dismal failure, but the incidental music has survived to become a favorite orchestral suite. The overture was first written for a long forgotten play called “The Magic Harp,” and since this was the only version truly related to the text, it is frequently titled “Overture to Die Zauberharfe.” Whatever its origins or its name, this is one of Schubert’s finest orchestral pieces, filled with ingratiating tunes and demonstrating his characteristic warm-heartedness and good humor through a masterly use of the orchestra’s resources.

Following the concert, the audience is cordially invited to meet the musicians at a reception, hosted by ARAMARK Higher Education, in the Bridgestone Americas Atrium of the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre.

Admission for the fall orchestra performance will be $10 at the door or by season ticket. All students within the community will be admitted free of charge as well as faculty, staff and students of Barton College. For additional information, please contact Arlene Bishop-Giese at 252-399-6309 or email:


Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: