Dearborn Symphony revels in French connection

Yehonatan Berick

Savor an elegant, refreshing, colorful Dearborn Symphony Orchestra program by French composers Debussy, Ravel, and Saint-Saëns at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

Tickets ranging from $15 to $30 are available by calling the symphony office at 313-565-2424 or at the theater box office at 313-943-2354. Go to for more information.

All patrons are invited to an insightful and humorous free preview of the evening’s music at 7 p.m. by musician James Walters.

Under the baton of Conductor Kypros Markou, the night’s program begins with Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” — unmatched with its seductive melodies and exotic harmonies. Experience Ravel’s exotic “Tzigane” and Saint-Saëns’ “Havannaise” by acclaimed violin virtuoso Yehonatan Berick. The evening climaxes with Saint-Saëns’ majestic “Third Symphony,” one of the most spectacular showpieces for orchestra.

“…Berick sounded godly enough to me on the violin…,” wrote the Ann Arbor News. “…The purity of his tone brought tears to my eyes…,” wrote the Montreal Gazette.

Prizewinner at the 1993 Naumburg Violin Competition, Berick is in high demand as a concert soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe and Israel. He has performed with, among others, the Quebec, Winnipeg, Windsor, Ann Arbor, Jerusalem and Haifa symphonies, and the Israeli, Cincinnati, Montreal, and Manitoba chamber orchestras.

Currently professor of violin at the University of Ottawa and visiting professor at the University of Toronto, Berick previously served on the faculties of the University of Michigan, McGill University, as well as the Eastman School of Music.

About his “Third Symphony,” Saint-Saëns said: “I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again.” Popularly known as the “Organ Symphony” — even though it is not a true symphony for organ but simply an orchestral symphony where two sections out of four use the pipe organ — he gave it virtuoso piano passages, brilliant orchestral writing characteristic of the Romantic period, and the sound of a cathedral-sized pipe organ.

The Dearborn Symphony has partnered with local restaurants for “Dinner and a Concert.” The restaurants — Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse, Big Fish, Kiernan’s Steak House and Silky’s, LaPita, The Dearborn Inn and Tria at The Henry — offer a 20 percent discount to symphony ticket-holders on concert nights.

Advance reservations are recommended.