The Springfield Symphony Orchestra's 88th season is called "Swipe Right" and is dedicated to music about love.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage for the first time in 2023 with a show that features a world premiere and a talented cellist.

The concert, titled “The Great Lover,” invites the audience to meditate on love themes ranging from love of country to the notorious Italian lover Don Juan. It will feature Jean Sibelius’s “Symphony No. 2” alongside the debut performance of the full orchestra version of “Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra” from composer Daijana Wallace. The performance is Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m. inside the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

World premiere of ‘Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra’

“It is always exciting to play a world premiere, and this month is no exception,” said Kyle Wiley Pickett, music director and conductor of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. “Daijana Wallace is an extraordinarily talented young composer from Kansas. We’re very proud to be playing the world premiere of the full orchestra version of her ‘Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra,’ featuring our own principal cellist, Daniel Ketter. It’s a beautiful piece and I know the audience is going to love it.”

Wallace, who turns 30 this year, is originally from Junction City, Kansas, and is currently studying music composition at Michigan State University. Her music has been heard around the United States as well as at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy.

Ketter, meanwhile, is an assistant professor of music at Missouri State University. He teaches courses in cello, chamber music and music theory. The Kansas City native is co-director and cellist of the American Wild Ensemble and founded the Cello Teaching Repertoire Consortium in 2021. Ketter plays a cello made by H.C. Silvestre around 1870 in Lyon, France.

A woman sits on a concrete bench, holding a red binder
Daijana Wallace composed “Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra.” January’s Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert, “The Great Lover,” will feature the debut performance of the full orchestra version of that piece. (Photo: Springfield Symphony Orchestra)

‘A perfect winter symphony for January’

Sibelius composed “Symphony No. 2” from 1901-02 and called it “a confession of the soul.” It debuted March 8, 1902, in Helsinki, Finland. It consists of three movements and a finale.

“Sibelius’s (“Symphony No. 2”) is one of the pieces that I get the most requests for, and it’s no surprise why,” Pickett said. “It’s passionate, stormy, grandiose and gorgeous. It’s a perfect winter symphony for January, and its lush melodies highlight this season’s theme of love.

“After a wonderful first half of our season, I’m thrilled about the music the SSO brings to 2023. I know you’ll find this second half of our season just as inspired and beautiful as the first half.” 

Doors open at 6:20 p.m. for the show, with a pre-concert talk with Pickett scheduled for 6:30 in the auditorium. There will be pre-concert music in the lobby starting at 6:45.

Show overlaps with T of C, so arrive early

Concertgoers are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early for the show, which overlaps with the Tournament of Champions at the nearby Great Southern Bank Arena. All Missouri State University parking lots will be open and accessible for symphony attendees, though the Bear Park North garage — adjacent to Hammons Hall — may be full. When parking, guests should advise the attendants they are attending the concert, or show them their tickets, to avoid the parking fee.

For more information, call 417-864-6683, or visit the Springfield Symphony Orchestra website.

Want to go?

Single tickets are $25-$50, with discounts available for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the Hammons Hall box office at 417-836-7678. The box office will open one hour before the performance begins.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger