The audience crowded the UdeC Theater for a reunion with two beloved music personalities very much linked to the Concepción Symphony Orchestra: Russian conductor Vladimir Simkin, who has appeared in our concert seasons over the last twenty years, and the awarded Peruvian-born soloist Marcella Mazzini, who has performed much of the repertoire for piano and orchestra with the Concepción Symphony since she moved to our city in the 1970s.

The program started with the world premiere of a piece selected in the 5th Call for the Premiere of Works by Chilean Composers organized by the UdeC Cultural Corporation and supported by the Chilean Society for Authors’ Rights (SCD). It was the Divertimento Opus 135 (version for full orchestra) by Hernán Ramírez, a well-known composer whose first orchestral work was premiered in 1975, also by the Concepción Symphony. In his Divertimento, the influence of the 20th century avant-gardes blends with obsessive and somewhat Afro-Latin American rhythms which were dispatched with considerable precision by the orchestra and its conductor.

The performance of Rachmaninov’s famous Concerto n°2 by maestra Mazzini began quite reserved, but reached the expected spectacular touches in the final movement. The audience ovation was thunderous and was thanked by the pianist with a no less thunderous performance of Rachmaninov’s Moment Musical Op. 16 n° 4 which left everyone in awe.

The rest of the program consisted of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony, where Vladimir Simkin reminded us his mastery in this repertoire. Particularly in the gloomy second movement, Simkin’s baton shaped every phrase with unusual detail and effect. During the final ovation, the conductor returned to the rostrum to offer two attractive encores—the Romance from Shostakovich’s “Gadfly” ballet (with a prominent solo played by concertmaster Pamela Astorga) and a fragment from “Raymonda”, ballet by Alexander Glazunov. It was a sumptuous ending for a program mostly devoted to Russia’s magnificent music legacy.