Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms

photo Alexander Schimpf


* What: Alexander Schimpf performs with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera.* When: 8 p.m. Saturday.* Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.* Admission: $19-$81.* Phone: 267-8583.* Website:

Saturday, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera welcomes pianist Alexander Schimpf, winner of the 2011 Cleveland (Ohio) Orchestra International Piano Competition.

"The pianist whipped up storms, spun out golden filigree and plumbed philosophical depth," wrote Zachary Lewis, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Others played their selections. He owned his."

Schimpf's selection was Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, so CSO music director Kayoko Dan has built his Chattanooga performance around that selection, choosing pieces with a strong Germanic and Viennese influence, in deference to Schimpf's homeland of Gottigen, Germany.

"Of course, you can't go without Mozart, or Brahms for that matter," she said.

The evening will open with the Overture to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Magic Flute," followed by the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4, and will conclude with Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73.

The program is, perhaps, a bit more traditional than Dan typically prefers.

"I like to have different kinds of experiences at concerts," she said. "This time around, we have an overture, a concerto and a symphony, a typical symphonic orchestra experience. Sometimes it's nice to have that kind of comfort."

Still, each of the pieces chosen has meaning.

"The Magic Flute" has special significance for Dan: It was the first opera she conducted.

"It's a really brilliant overture. It has a lot of symbolism. There are so many little intricate details, like the No. 3 is really important in the overture, and you can hear a lot of that throughout the opera."

The Brahms Second Symphony is being partnered, in a sense, with the Dvorak 6, a Dan favorite, which will be performed in November. Dvorak was inspired by Brahms, and the latter piece is an homage to the former.

She did not want to pair the two, she said, because both require a lot of attention.

"I want to make sure every representation is at the highest level."

Brahms spent nearly 20 years composing his first symphony, a dramatic, tragic work, and his second was composed within a year, often called his "pastoral" symphony for its elegant, bucolic qualities.

"It's almost like he struggled to write this great symphony," Dan said, "and all of a sudden he got over himself and wrote an equally amazing piece in such a short amount of time."

Schimpf will also be the guest of honor at an Overture Luncheon today at noon at the Walden Club, 633 Chestnut Street. Tickets are $35.

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her on Facebook at