Best known for his score to the ballet Romeo and Juliet Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev was a key figure in the shift from traditional classical music to the modernist era. He was born in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine in 1891. After showing promise as a child, he moved with his family to St. Petersburg in 1904 to study music. By that point, Prokofiev had already written several operas.
As a youth Prokofiev traveled to London and Paris, and became acquainted with Sergei Diaghilev, founder of ground-breaking Ballet Russe for whom he did his first professional commissions. He was a contemporary of Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel and others who championed modernist values in music and art.
On Saturday at Conexus Arts Centre the Regina Symphony Orchestra will perform Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony. It was composed in Soviet Russia in the summer of 1944. At that point, World War II was still raging, and the symphony was intended to serve as an expression of humanity’s higher ideals tied to peace and freedom.
Guest artist for the evening is pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, and additional works by Glinka and Rachmaninov are also on the program. Curtain is at 8 p.m., and more information can be found on the RSO website. And to give you sense what the symphony is like, here’s an excerpt from a 2012 performance by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra: