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MSO offers 20th century classics
Youth orchestra to present Spring Concert
The Modesto Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Nicholas Hersh, will perform Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” in February (Photo contributed).

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will explore early 20th century classics with shows in February, along with the youth orchestra’s annual Spring Concert.

MSO will perform Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” on Feb. 9 and 10, led by Music Director Nicholas Hersh. The weekend’s program includes MSO’s premiere of William L. Dawson’s “Negro Folk Symphony,” as well as Lili Boulanger’s “D’un Matin de Printemps” (Of a Spring Morning), which will feature a video presentation created in collaboration with Visit Modesto. The program will end with Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”  

“Our February Classics program explores the shifting sonic landscape of the early 20th Century, when musical innovation was constant, and the now-familiar ‘swing’ and ‘jazz’ were new,” said Music Director Nicholas Hersh. “Anchoring our concert is Gershwin’s famous orchestral travelogue, ‘An American in Paris,’ which captures all the hustle and bustle of the Champs-Élysées and the composer’s own bittersweet homesickness for New York. Before that, we’ll hear the rarely performed Negro Folk Symphony by William Dawson, which weaves traditional Black American spirituals into a symphonic tour-de-force. And connecting the two: the wordless tone poem ‘Of a Spring Morning’ by the French prodigy Lili Boulanger, featuring a new multimedia collaboration with Visit Modesto just in time for almond blossom season.” 

The video presentation made in collaboration with Visit Modesto will feature photos and footage of almond blossoms, capturing the beauty of springtime in Stanislaus County. It will be projected on screen during the MSO’s performance of Boulanger’s ‘D’un Matin de Printemps’ (Of a Spring Morning), similar to MSO’s live-to-film concert movie performances.  

The weekend of performances will also include the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra (MSYO) in their Spring Concert on Feb. 10. The MSYO comprises of two orchestras with students grades 5 through 12 from schools in the Central Valley and is led by a deeply engaged leadership team. For this concert, the MSYO Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by former MSYO Music Director and the MSO’s current Principal Pops Conductor, Ryan Murray. This Spring Concert will feature works by Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and more.

To purchase tickets and learn more about the MSYO at