MSO’s all-Beethoven evening, an ‘unbeatable’ tribute

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MSO’s all-Beethoven evening, an ‘unbeatable’ tribute
Guest pianist Christopher Atzinger has the spotlight

Jackson, Mississippi — The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s third concert in its flagship Bravo series, 7:30 p.m. January 28 at Thalia Mara Hall, offers a rare indulgence in masterworks from one of the most admired and most performed composers in the history of Western music.

From start to finish, “Unbeatable Beethoven” shines with career-spanning scope from the revolutionary composer and stellar interpretation by acclaimed American pianist Christopher Atzinger as guest artist.

“Beethoven really created the modern orchestra,” says MSO Maestro Crafton Beck, noting the smaller chamber orchestras of Mozart’s and Haydn’s day. The modern orchestra, with its trombones and tubas, all the percussion, larger string section, harps and pianos, emerged in the course of the 19th century, and Beethoven’s powerful compositions drove the transition. “For that reason, Beethoven is the bedrock.”

Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, his Piano Concerto No. 2 and his Symphony No. 8 pack a masterful evening that hits high notes of drama, early sparkle and imaginative, compelling delight.

Atzinger, praised for his fervency and panache, brings award-winning skill to the Piano Concerto No. 2 in Jackson. It’s “a great piece, with its youthful exuberance and high levels of energy, but it’s also quintessential Beethoven as far as the change of moods, the drama,” he says. Beethoven’s writings for piano are “brilliant,” he adds, with the conversational interplay between piano and orchestra in this work a particular delight.

Also highlighting Atzinger’s Mississippi visit are two masterclasses, at Mississippi College in Clinton January 25 and at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg January 29. A masterclass gives selected students a performance opportunity and outside feedback, exposes all students to other repertoire and offers insights for students and faculty, says USM Associate Professor Elizabeth Moak. “The ‘fresh eyes’ of the masterclass artist provides a reflective growth experience for all.”

As with each of the MSO Bravo Series concerts presented by the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, there will be a free pre-concert lecture by Tim Coker, emeritus professor of music at Millsaps College, at 6:45 p.m. on the mezzanine of Thalia Mara Hall, downtown Jackson.

Individual tickets start at $29 for adults and $5 for students, kindergarten through college (with valid student ID). Visit for advance tickets and information. The box office will open at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the concert.

This season is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency.

What: Unbeatable Beethoven, MSO Bravo Series concert
Who: Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 28, 2023
Where: Thalia Mara Hall             255 E. Pascagoula Street, Jackson