MSO’s heroic salute honors feats present and past

MSO logo with colored bar stating for immediate release in lower third.

MSO’s heroic salute honors feats present and past
A concerto premiere and Beethoven’s best!

Jackson, Mississippi — “Heroines and Heroes,” the third concert in Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s flagship Bravo Series, premieres a new concerto with deep local resonance along with one of the greatest symphonies of all time – Beethoven’s Eroica. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 27, at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

Concertmaster Shellie Brown Kemp embraces the spotlight in Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. This new work by composer James Sclater of Clinton celebrates Kemp’s rise to MSO concertmaster and is funded by a gift from the choir of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, the violinist’s home church through childhood.

Sclater, professor of music at Mississippi College for 40 years and a clarinetist with MSO for nearly 30, created a concerto that toasts Kemp’s new beginning and honors MSO’s past. Movements in memory of Concertmaster Emeritus Robert McNally and violinist/string education founder Mickey Davis, an early teacher of Kemp’s, bring the work full circle. “A lot of history there, a lot of nostalgia, a lot of memories… a lot of very rich layers to this piece that are tied into relationships between all these people and with the Mississippi Symphony,” said Maestro Crafton Beck.

The concerto’s premiere continues the season’s celebration of music and musicians influenced by Mississippi and represents the key role MSO plays.

“It’s essential to keep adding to the field and to the art form, and also to promote composers, and performers as well,” said MSO President and Executive Director Jenny Mann. “That’s a really important ecosystem that we need, to continue to grow and nurture.”

The January concert opens with Rossini’s charming and upbeat Overture to Italian Girl in Algiers and Beethoven’s famously triumphant and revolutionary third symphony, named Eroica for its heroic nature, commands the evening’s second half.

Created as Beethoven faced the onset of deafness, the piece can be viewed as a representation of his personal struggles and his own hopeful triumph through art. “For him, it was life and death, it was everything. … and he came back and found a new voice,” Beck said. “It’s a huge, huge work, and groundbreaking in so many ways.”

MSO’s Bravo Series is presented by the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation. The season is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The on-site box office will open at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the concert and a free pre-concert lecture by Tim Coker, emeritus professor of music at Millsaps College, will be held at 6:45 p.m. on the mezzanine of Thalia Mara Hall.

Individual tickets start at $29 for adults, and are $5 for students, kindergarten through college (with valid student ID). Visit for advance tickets and information.

To find out about tickets to MSO’s Bravo, Chamber or Pops Series, email or call 601-414-6005.

What: Heroines and Heroes, MSO Bravo Series concert
Who: Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 27, 2024
Where: Thalia Mara Hall 255 E. Pascagoula St. Jackson