Amarillo Symphony's Jacomo Bairos: 'This is the biggest symphony we've ever done'

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Amarillo Symphony's "Ravishing Rachmaninoff" concerts are Feb. 23-24.

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Works by two of the biggest names in classical music will headline Amarillo Symphony's February concerts.

The orchestra's "Ravishing Rachmaninoff" concerts will feature Russian pianist Natasha Paremski on Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, then Sergei Rachmaninoff's massive Symphony No. 2.

Concerts are set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $15 to $54, plus fees. Call 806-376-8782.

The Rachmaninoff is "the biggest symphony we've ever done in my entire time in Amarillo," conductor Jacomo Bairos said. "It's a huge undertaking emotionally."

It premiered 110 years ago, a career-changer for the Russian composer, whose first symphony was met with disastrous reviews.

"He was suffering through depression (after Symphony No. 1)," Bairos said. "It wasn't until, like, 10 years later that he started to get acclaim."

The symphony features "Tchaikovsky's hyper-romanticized melodies, but in the context of romanticism in its fullest form, while Tchaikovsky was a classicalist trapped in a romantic body," Bairos said. "This retains the classical form ... but times 100. It's longer, bigger, wilder.

"There's something very deep and powerful about this symphony," he continued. "He was going through some rough periods, but he was able to dig himself out with his writing."

Rachmaninoff's soul-baring writing — and the sheer length of the piece — is a daunting challenge for the orchestra, Bairos said. That's why he chose to pair it with the Shostakovich concerto.

"It's the lightest, most fun piece," Bairos said. "I didn't want to hold anyone back (on the Rachmaninoff) because we had another concerto that was so picky."

The concert also will feature the premiere of Elahrens Tambuwun's Per Barbos Samogo, part of the West Texas A&M University Composer's Initiative.

"It's a short, beautiful piece," Bairos said. "(The Initiative) is something we started years ago, and we're very, very happy with the success of it."






Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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