On Monday, May 22nd, Music in the Mountains (MIM) will present the third installment of its 2023 education series “Mondays with the Maestro,” featuring a discussion with Artistic Director & Conductor, Ryan Murray, with a program titled “Favorite American Composers”. This discussion will take place at 7PM with an inviting presentation by Maestro Murray and slideshow via Zoom. This event is offered at a pay-what-you-want price and open to the public with RSVP at MIM’s website to get the link.

The discussion will focus on George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1. Because the MIM orchestra will be performing a concert with these pieces on June 29, 2023 at the Center for the Arts. MIM’s July 3 concert at Western Gateway Park is also a celebration of American music, and in 2023, will include the music of  Woody Guthrie, John Philip Souza, Duke Ellington, John Williams, and more. Ryan will select interesting facts about many of these American composers and their music to share. 

Ryan Murray is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of Music in the Mountains and the Auburn Symphony Orchestra, and the Principal Pops Conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of Opera Modesto, the Director of Symphony Orchestra & Opera at California State University, Sacramento, and the Conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s premier orchestra. He is passionate about teaching adults and children about music and looks forward to giving our community a “behind the curtain” peek at some of MIM’s upcoming concerts. 

“We have some great concerts planned for our upcoming SummerFest and this program will give attendees insights into the minds and work of some of our greatest American Composers whose pieces we will be performing this summer,” explained MIM Executive Director, Jenny Darlington-Person. “Ryan does a great job leading these discussions and really helps the music come alive for people.”

Rhapsody in Blue is perhaps the most iconically American piece of classical-jazz crossover music ever written. In fact, it has been used in film, TV, and commercials for nearly 80 years. Eighty-four pianists on grand pianos played it at the Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. And since the early 90s, it has been used as the soundtrack for United Airlines. Ryan will discuss this iconic piece along with the multi-talented composer who created it.   

Florence Price was an award winning pianist and composer, and she was the first African American woman to have a composition played by a major US orchestra. So why aren’t most people more familiar with her music? Ryan will answer this question along with revealing interesting facts about this woman’s exceptional talent and her musical career. And these are just two of the favorite American composers that he will be covering. 

The discussion is perfect for anyone who enjoys music and wants to learn more about it. It is also the perfect preparation for anyone who wants to attend the 42nd Annual Summerfest 2023, which will begin June 17th with an outdoor garden concert including a catered dinner and a performance with Sacramento’s Rogue Music Project. SummerFest 2023 concerts include: a piano recital with champagne and dessert; The Music of Mozart, including his Requiem; George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Florence Price’s Symphony No.1; an outdoor showing of Toy Story 1 with the MIM Orchestra playing the score live; and a tradition over three decades in the making: Happy Birthday USA, with Broadway’s Ali Ewoldt. 

Music in the Mountains is honored to continue to bring wonderful classical music performances and educational programs to Nevada County. The public is invited to join MIM in 2023 and is invited to purchase tickets to live concerts and workshops, or support music education programs by paying-what-you-want. For more information call 530-265-6124 or email info@musicinthemountains.org.  Always open at www.musicinthemountains.org.