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MUSIC

Stephen Dankner's Symphony No. 7
8 p.m. Thu. & Sat., May 11 & 13
First Baptist Church, 5290 Canal Blvd., 523-6530

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Klauspeter Seibel (pictured, left), presents the world premiere of resident composer and New Orleanian Richard Dankner's Symphony No. 7 and Ernest Bloch's Schelomo . Dankner has waited three years to present his seventh symphony, which he composed in 2003. The symphony is the fourth and final piece in a series of compositions by Dankner (pictured, middle) that explore Jewish themes. Here, Dankner's music expresses the emotional power of the mystical aspects of Judaism as represented in the Kabbalah. The piece also includes one section of singing derived from Yom Kippur prayer books and will be sung by Shaon Sims and Amy Van Rockel. The other piece on the bill, Schelomo , composed by Bloch in 1916, also has a Jewish theme. Bloch was a Switzerland native who came of age during World War II in Europe. In Schelomo , he uses the distinct sound of the violoncello to convey the musical setting of the book of Ecclesiastes. Tickets $30.— Samuel H. Winston

MUSIC

New Orleans Suite
2:30 p.m. Sat., May 13
NOCCA/Riverfront, Lupin Hall, 2800 Chartres St., 940-2854; www.nocca.com

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts/Riverfront and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (GNOYO) present the premiere of an original musical composition, New Orleans Suite , by New Orleans native Michael Rihner (pictured). Rihner, a teacher in the NOCCA/Riverfront music department since 1997, has created a musical suite inspired by the rich landscape of New Orleans tailored specifically for the GNOYO. It is a creative musical journey that begins with "Afternoon in the Park," followed by a short and fast "Street Car Ride" that takes the audience to the CBD. A brief "Riverboat Cruise" floats the audience down to a lyrical "Bayou Ballade" and, finally, to the joyous "French Quarter Parade." Rihner had this production in the works before Hurricane Katrina but says it has an even deeper significance now. Donations accepted. — Winston


EVENTS

Mother's Day at Audubon Zoo
Noon Sun., May 14
Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 581-4629; www.auduboninstitute.org

In case you missed her at Jazz Fest last weekend, Irma Thomas once again provides mothers and those who honor them the annual treat of seeing the Soul Queen of New Orleans perform at the zoo. Thomas has managed to maintain a presence in post-Katrina New Orleans despite personal setbacks including the flooding of her home and nightclub. After moving with her husband to a temporary home in Gonzales, she performed alongside fellow New Orleans music ambassadors at the Big Easy Benefit concert and at this year's Grammy awards. In addition, she just recently released a new album, After the Rain (Rounder), a fitting title in post-Katrina New Orleans in addition to referencing her classic song "It's Raining." The album, 46 years after her first recording, is Thomas' most encompassing musical effort. She has included several guest performers from Louisiana including keyboardists David Torkanowsky and David Egan. Hammond B-3 wiz Joe Krown will open up for Thomas this Sunday at Audubon. (For an extended interview of Irma Thomas with Scott Jordan, see this week's cover story.) Free admission for mothers, $12 adults, $9 seniors, $7 children 2-12. — Winston


STAGE

Parsons Dance Company
7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thu, May 10-11
Tulane University, Dixon Hall, 522-0996; www.nobadance.com

A true sign of a city's welfare is the status of its arts programs, which is why it is great to see New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) make its post-Katrina debut with two renowned dance companies coming to town in the Parsons Dance Company this week and the Joffrey Ballet later this month. Both companies were scheduled to perform at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts this past fall; however due to damage to the venue, the performance was cancelled. The Parsons Dance Company, led by choreographer David Parsons, brings its larger-than-life physicality, wit and exuberance. The dancers will perform "In the End," a theatrical, full-throttle piece set to music by the Dave Matthews Band; "Wolfgang," a tribute to Mozart that showcases the company's astonishing ability to make constant motion seem effortless; and "Caught," Parsons' signature work that features athleticism and special effects that wow audiences. In addition, the Joffrey Ballet, accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, is one of the world's finest classical ballet companies and will feature Sir Frederick Ashton's "The Dream," a story ballet based on William Shakespeare's classic comedy of love and mischief to the music of Felix Mendelsshon as well as several other pieces that will all contain a Russian folk dance flavor. Tickets range from $25-$65 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (522-5555 or www.ticketmaster.com). — Winston

click to enlarge LOIS GREENFIELD
  • Lois Greenfield
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