The Daily Gamecock

SC Philharmonic fuses casual, classical with 'Beethoven in Blue Jeans'

The Koger Center for the Arts was filled with the sounds of Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 4 during the SC Philharmonic “Beethoven in Blue Jeans” on Sunday.

Led by conductor Morihiko Nakahara, the 66-musician ensemble payed tribute to the 18th century composer by performing Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, along with pieces from Rossini and Berlioz. This year is the seventh year that Nakahara has been with the SC Philharmonic. He and the ensemble ditched the usual suit and tie attire and sported turtlenecks and blue jeans.

Also director of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Nakahara is well known for his charisma on and off the podium. Nakahara feels at home with a wide variety of musical styles, and he recently conducted Joan Tower’s “Red Maple” and John Fitz Rodgers’ “The Passing Sun” during the SC Philharmonic’s 50th Anniversary season.

The SC Phil promotes high-quality, professional symphonic music while serving the community’s need of cultural development and education since 1964. It has been several years that the SC Philharmonic has been putting on “Beethoven in Blue Jeans.”

As a non-profit organization that performs almost year round in the Palmetto State, the troupe engages with the Midlands through educational programs, Healing Harmonies and Music for a Cause.

The symphony began with a rendition of Rossini’s “William Tell: Overture.” Nakahara was very lively at the podium while the orchestra played a soft tone with smooth flow with an occasional abrupt tone.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major was next. This symphony featured four movements — following Symphony No. 4 was Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy” with guest artist Miles Hoffman on viola. "Harold in Italy" includes movements pertaining a mountain scene, a pilgrims’ march, a shepherd’s serenade and an orgy of brigands.

The artistic director and violist of the American Chamber Players,Hoffman was also named artistic director of the Peace Center Chamber Music Society.

Hoffman has frequently appeared as a viola soloist with orchestras across the country, including: the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the U.S. Marine Band, the Illinois Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, the Lincoln Symphony, the Greenville Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony, among others.