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Renowned piano prodigy opens Modesto Symphony Orchestras 86th season
Ray Ushikubo - photo by Photo Contributed

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra opens its 86th Classics Season Oct. 14 and 15 at the Gallo Center for the Arts with a program focused on America and the virtue of youth. 

Music Director David Lockington will lead the Modesto Symphony in an evening of classical favorites featuring 15-year-old piano virtuoso, Ray Ushikubo performing Gershwin’s hugely popular “Rhapsody in Blue.”  Also on the program Copland’s “Hoe-Dow, Billy the Kid Suite and Fanfare for the Common Man,” Liszt’s “Hungarian Fantasy,” Diamond’s “Rounds: Movement 1” and Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” 


“I had the good fortune to see Ray perform recently in Pasadena, and he’s an immense talent,” said David Lockington, MSO’s Music Director.  “When we started putting together this program, we wanted to push something fresh and exciting, but also familiar.  “Rhapsody in Blue” is such a recognizable piece of music, and having a prodigy like Ray featured on the piano really adds an element of vibrancy not only to the program, but to the entire orchestra as well.  I’m certain when we look back in five to 10 years when Ray is an even bigger star in the classical music world, we’ll fully realize what a special concert this truly was.”


“It’s always important for us to start our classics series off with a program the community recognizes, which helps set us up for a successful season,” continues Caroline Nickel, Modesto Symphony’s President and CEO.  “As soon as we announced this concert we saw an immediate demand that’s steadily continued for the past few months.  It’s going to be a very exciting opening weekend, and we’re absolutely thrilled at the caliber of our guest artist.”


Both shows will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15. Ushikubo and Brad Hart will provide insights to the evening's program prior to the concert.  Free to all concert ticket holders; pre-concert conversations begin at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $19 and are available through the Gallo Center Box Office by calling 338-2100 or online at