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University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra Performs September 11 in ABAC Arts Series

August 29, 2016

The University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11 in the first event of this season’s ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said the concert at the Tift County High School (TCHS) Performing Arts Center will feature pianist Dr. Martha Thomas, named the Despy Karlas Professor of Piano.  Thomas and the orchestra will perform Manuel de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.”  Initially a nocturne for a solo piano, de Falla turned the composition into a work for a piano and a symphony.  The work depicts three gardens – “In the Generalife,” “A Distant Dance,” and “In the Gardens of the Sierra de Córdoba.”

A native Texan, Thomas holds degrees through the doctoral level from the University of Texas and the University of Wisconsin.  She has performed in master classes and coached with many nationally renowned pianists. Thomas studied piano pedagogy with Verna Harder, Jeanette Ross, and Amanda Vick Lethco and credits them with fostering her love of teaching.

Thomas began her teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is presently Professor of Piano and Associate Director for Academic Programs at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia.

Active in professional music organizations, Thomas has served as President of the Georgia Music Teachers Association, State Piano Chair of the Georgia Music Educators Association, and MTNA Southern Division Director. In 2012, she was honored to receive the Teacher of the Year Award from the Georgia Music Teachers Association.  She also has an active concert and recording schedule in addition to her teaching at UGA.  Thomas released her eighth recording in 2013, “Max Reger: The Forgotten Romantic,” on iTunes and through Amazon.com.

The UGA Symphony Orchestra is one of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s premier performing ensembles, showcasing some of the university’s finest players performing traditional orchestral repertoire in a series of dynamic concerts.  In addition to the orchestra’s annual performances, the group also provides music for the UGA Opera Theater’s fully-staged productions and serves as the lab orchestra for various academic classes, ranging from composition to orchestral conducting.

Dedicated to the study and performance of significant orchestral music, the orchestra often collaborates with faculty and guest soloists in performances of major concerto literature. The orchestra performs under the baton of Mark Cedel and is primarily composed of music majors.  All members of the symphony are selected by audition.

Other performances in the ABAC series include guitarist Shaun Hopper on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium, Derek Evans as Teddy Roosevelt in “The Man in the Arena” at 3 p.m. in Howard Auditorium on Nov. 6, the National Players production of John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” in Howard Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2017, pianist Read Gainsford on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium, the Albany Symphony Orchestra at 3 p.m. on March 26, 2017 at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center, and trumpet player Terell Stafford on April 20, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium.

While available tickets will be sold at the door for each show, Jones encourages advance purchase of tickets to ensure seating for patrons.  Tickets for the entire series are $75 for adults and $25 for students under 18 years of age. Individual tickets for each event are $20 for adults and $10 each for students under 18 years of age. Tickets can be purchased online at www.purplepass.com/abac or by phone at (229) 391-4895.

The ABAC performing arts series is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts.
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