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Colin Currie makes spectacular local debut

Colin Currie's performance of Jennifer Higdon's “Percussion Concerto” wows Oklahoma City Philharmonic audience.
Modified: February 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm •  Published: February 5, 2013

Whether in the hushed tremolos of the marimba, the metallic passagework of the vibraphone, the clatter of the temple blocks or the explosive poundings of the timbales and tom-toms, Currie wove these disparate elements into a dramatic piece with remarkable finesse.

The orchestra's percussion section — Dave Steffens, Lance Drege, Roger Owens and Stuart Langsam — performed their equally critical role in this concerto's success through precise and colorful exchanges with the soloist. Joel Levine kept taut reins over the proceedings which culminated in a spectacular performance.

The evening's finale, Tchaikovsky's suite from “Swan Lake,” which Levine bookended with a prologue and dramatic finale, served as a sort of prelude for the Oklahoma City Ballet's April staging of the full-length ballet.

Levine carefully shaped the work with remarkable taste and musical understanding. There were lovely solos by oboist Lisa Harvey-Reed, harpist Gaye LeBlanc, cellist Jonathan Ruck and concertmaster Gregory Lee.

Levine's expert pacing and balancing of the orchestral sections through an ever-changing panorama of waltzes and nationalistic dances reminded listeners of this orchestra's remarkable virtuosic capabilities. It's a concert that won't soon be forgotten.

— Rick Rogers