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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Uzcátegui makes Coeur d’Alene Symphony debut with “Music from Scandinavia”

Jorge Luis Uzcategui, the Spokane Symphony's assistant conductor, will lead the Coeur d’Alene Symphony in a pair of concerts this weekend at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Jorge Luis Uzcategui, the Spokane Symphony's assistant conductor, will lead the Coeur d’Alene Symphony in a pair of concerts this weekend at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Symphony fans in Spokane are no doubt familiar with assistant conductor Jorge Luis Uzcátegui’s name, having seen him lead the symphony numerous times since his 2015 Spokane Symphony debut.

But classical music fans in Coeur d’Alene will get their first taste of Uzcátegui on Friday and Saturday when he makes his Coeur d’Alene Symphony debut at “Music from Scandinavia” at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Uzcátegui had nothing but good things to say about his time with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony.

“It really has been a very unforgettable and wonderful experience to work with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony,” he said. “They are truly a very unique ensemble in which they bring always the best energy, the most positive supportive energy, and making sure that the musical work that is being done is done at the highest level and also with the highest level of positivity.”

He’s equally excited to be working on “Music from Scandinavia,” which will feature Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Symphonic Dance op. 64.

The former is especially close to Uzcátegui’s heart, as the conductor, who is also a pianist, grew up listening to the piece.

“The Grieg Piano Concerto is by far one of the most famous piano concertos, period,” he said. “One of the most popular by everybody, by audiences and pianists alike as well.”

At “Music from Scandinavia,” guest soloist Renato Fabbro, a pianist and teacher from Portland, will perform the concerto.

Uzcátegui sees Grieg as one of the major representatives of Scandinavian music, thanks to the cosmopolitan way the composer highlighted the folklore of his country and the region in his music.

“Even in his piano concerto, which is an early work, he already includes and incorporates a lot of these elements and combines this great romantic sound with also very nationalistic folkloric type of sounds by including some of the typical melodies or dances we can hear in their music,” Uzcátegui said.

In this way, Grieg has ensured that the music of Scandinavia is not seen as a niche genre, but is instead appreciated by listeners around the world.

“He knew writing a piano concerto in the way he did, it probably would become something very popular,” Uzcátegui said. “That’s exactly how he utilized that medium and that compositional form in order to promote music from his country, and he certainly did a great job of it.”

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