Dearborn Symphony concert to be full of fireworks

What to do when the scheduled virtuoso piano soloist falls in Dubrovnik and injures her hand three weeks before the concert? If you’re the Dearborn Symphony, you call on your own award-winning concert pianist, Dearborn native Jacqueline Csurgai-Schmitt.

All virtuosos have a repertoire of pieces that they keep at the ready to be performed on a moment’s notice; Csurgai-Schmitt is no exception. Because of her Hungarian heritage, Csurgai-Schmitt is a specialist in Hungarian music which turns out to be a perfect prelude to the Symphony’s May 22 black-tie gala, “Ball of the Gypsy Prince!”

Csurgai-Schmitt will take center stage to perform “Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra” by Franz Liszt as part of the Dearborn Symphony’s “Fireworks!” concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.

Regaled as the “Paganini of the Piano,” Liszt wrote piano music that was considered of “transcendental” difficulty and virtuosity. The “Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra,” based on his ever-popular “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 14,” is one such piece. Imitating the Hungarian national instrument, the cimbalom, the music will take listeners on a journey from the most intimate and soulful expressions of the Hungarian people to the excitement and energy of the csárdás, the national dance.

Csurgai-Schmitt began her career by winning many local and state competitions. She has a master of music degree from Indiana University having studied with Menahem Pressler, renowned pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio. She performs extensively in the Detroit area with orchestras and in solo and chamber music performances.

The concert opens with two pieces by Lebanese composer Bechara El-Khoury, a master of orchestration who defines his artistic credo as that of “setting to music human nature and its passions.” The first piece, “Dance of the Eagles,” is a short, pulsing work with a Middle East flavor, followed by his “Serenade No. 2” that reflects the music of the diverse religions in Lebanon.

The program includes Claude Debussy’s shimmering “La Mer.” Through throbbing gushes of beautifully-shaped sound, the music will take listeners on a figurative cruise to experience the ocean’s many moods and states. Manuel de Falla’s very Spanish, rhythmically vital and colorfully evocative “Three Cornered Hat Suite” will conclude the concert.

To enrich the concert experience, the audience is invited to attend Jim Walters’ insightful and humorous preview of the evening’s music one hour before the concert — 7 p.m., free with a concert ticket.

The Dearborn Symphony has partnered with local restaurants to offer a 20 percent diners’ discount for ticket-holders on concert nights. Reservations are recommended at Andiamo Dearborn, La Pita, The Early American Room at the Dearborn Inn, Kiernan’s & Silky’s, Parisian Bistro, and The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn.

The concert and afterglow are made possible by the Women’s Association for the Dearborn Orchestral Society – all volunteer support for the symphony.

For tickets, call the symphony office at (313) 565-2424 —$30 to $15 for adults and $10 for students — or go to Tickets also are available at the Ford Center box office, (313) 943-2354.