News Release

Columbia offers magical moments of Mozart with the LPO March 3

Contact: Christina Chapple


LPO Conductor Joel Smirnoff

      HAMMOND -- The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the musical genius of Mozart – and the composer’s 250th birthday -- with the second of three 2006 concerts at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts Friday, March 3.

       “Mozart, Mozart, Mozart,” conducted by eminent violinist Joel Smirnoff, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the downtown Hammond theater. The symphony will perform the overture to “The Magic Flute,” “Violin Concerto #5 in A Major, K. 216” and “Symphony #36 in C Major, K. 425 (Linz).”

       Encouraged by legendary violinist Seiji Ozawa to “take up the baton,” Joel Smirnoff has developed into a highly acclaimed conductor with an impressive and wide-ranging repertoire. He is consistently cited for his high energy and special attention to the stylistic demands of each work he conducts.

       In summer 2000, Smirnoff made his official American conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony. He also is a frequent guest with the New World Symphony and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and has received rave reviews for his appearances with ensembles such as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Sinfonietta.

       In addition to his activities as a conductor, Smirnoff is first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet and chairman of the Violin Department at The Juilliard School. He was featured violin soloist at Tanglewood in 1997 and in 1983 debuted on Carnegie Hall’s “Emerging Artists” series after winning second prize at the International American Music Competition for Violin.

       Smirnoff also plays jazz, performing frequently as improvising soloist with Tony Bennett. His solos were featured on the Grammy award-winning CD “Tony Bennett Sings Ellington Hot and Cool.” He has also been guest soloist with Gunther Schuller and the American Jazz Orchestra, and the Billy Taylor Trio.

       The LPO will be joined by guest violinist Joan Kwuon, Smirnoff’s wife and teaching assistant at The Juilliard School. Kwuon’s graceful stage presence and passionate musicality has captured the acclaim of audiences and critics. She has performed extensively as soloist with a variety of orchestras at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and at several international music festivals.

       Kwuon is a member of the violin faculty at The Juilliard School and is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic Career Grant, the Irving M. Klein Prize, the Coleman Chamber Music Award and the Golden and Jackson Awards from the Tanglewood Music Center. “The Boston Globe” calls her "a big, fiery player with a commanding technique, dead-on double stops and uncommonly rapid and even trill."

       Tickets for “Mozart, Mozart, Mozart” are $32, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $28, Orchestra 2 and Balcony 1; and $20, Orchestra 3; and $19, Balcony 2.

       Tickets are available at the Columbia box office, (985) 543-4371, located in the theater’s lobby, 220 E. Thomas Street, and online at Box office hours are noon to five p.m., weekdays.

       For additional information on Columbia 2005-06 events, call 985-543-4366 or visit

More News...