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Double the Beethoven on ARC Theater Stage


The American River College Orchestra brings one of Beethoven’s most uplifting symphonies and most optimistic piano concertos, featuring soloist Natsuki Fukasawa, to the ARC Theater on November 2nd and 3rd.

“This concerto has been on my ‘bucket list’ for a while, and I’m really excited that I have the chance to perform it with Dr. Steven Thompson and ARC Orchestra,” said Fukasawa. “I’ve played most of Beethoven’s other piano concertos before, but I feel that No. 5 (“Emperor”) is the most concise, direct and confident.”

That hopefulness might come as a surprise given Beethoven’s circumstances while writing the work.

“The concerto was written during the war, when Vienna (where Beethoven lived) was being attacked by France. Beethoven had to escape to a bomb shelter multiple times while writing it,” explained Fukasawa. “The optimism in the first movement, the supreme beauty in the second movement, and humorous dance-like last movement are stark contrasts to what was surrounding him in real life.”

It is Beethoven’s last and most often recorded piano concerto and Fukasawa knows how to stay true to the composer’s vision while bringing a fresh presentation to the audience.

“I try to deliver the music clearly and with a sense of drama and message,” said Fukasawa. “Music is all about communicating through the sound. I hope people can come and enjoy how fresh Beethoven still sounds to us today.”

The orchestra is also excited to perform Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, a symphony that feels like a walk through the countryside, celebrating the beauty and solace that nature brings. If that sounds too mellow, have no fear, Beethoven also goes off. Nature’s raw fury is unleashed in the thunderstorm in the fourth movement. It also happens to be a favorite of Director, Steven Thompson.

“For some, their favorite Beethoven is his famous fifth symphony with its dramatic writing or the ninth with the huge choral forces and soloists and the message of the ‘Ode to Joy,’” said Thompson. “Those works speak to many of us. But for me, I’ve always had a love for the sixth; the “Pastoral”. It reflects Beethoven’s love of the outdoors through simple, joyful melodies in a programmatic structure. He tells a story.”

The November 2nd and 3rd performances will be at the American River College Theater at 4700 College Oak Drive in Sacramento. Both performances are at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.org.

For more information on the American River College Orchestra and these concerts, contact Dr. Steven Thompson at (916) 484-8433 or visit the ARCO website. General information can also be found at the ARCO Facebook page.

About the author

Kate Wells

Kate Wells has been studying violin for the last ten years and loves the variety of classical music that Sacramento area offers. She has worked as a river guide, lighting specialist, martial arts instructor, and is currently teaching English at Charter University Prep in Placerville.

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