LIMA — It’s only fitting that Lima Symphony Orchestra conductor finalist Andrew Crust celebrates Valentine’s Day with LSO as he described being part of this process as much like a “bizarre blind date.”
Crust is the fifth of seven conductor finalists and will lead the symphony in “Mad Love” this weekend.
“The main core (of my time in Lima) is that I get to make great music with the orchestra and connect on a musical and personal level,” Crust said. “Making music is a good way to get to know someone.”
He was tasked with crafting a program around Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto No. 2” for piano and chose to pair it with Wojciech Kilar’s “Orawa” and Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.” Crust described the program as one full of romantic, rhythmic and lush melodies.
Crust selected “Firebird” because it was one of the pieces that jumpstarted Stravinsky’s career and also because of a personal connection. The first time he conducted “Firebird” was in Athens, Ohio, years ago.
“The reason I chose ‘Firebird’ is because it’s an old friend of mine,” he said. “It’s also a chance to feature many solos within the orchestra. That’s a good way for me to get to know them and the musicians a good way to know me.”
Between the two masterworks, Crust will lead the symphony in “Orawa,” a piece composed in 1984.
“I wanted to show the audience and the orchestra a little bit of my personality and what I might choose in terms of an out-of-the-box program,” Crust explained. “It’s contemporary in a way that is musically brilliant but at the same time very enjoyable for any kind of audience. I wanted a chance to work just with the strings, which is the main body of this orchestra, and with this I will get to work with them directly.”
The orchestra will be joined by piano soloist Hidemi Minagawa for “Concerto No. 2.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.