Ironton Council for the Arts presents the 2011-12 Lawrence County concert series

Published 10:49 am Monday, September 26, 2011

Season tickets are now on sale for the Ironton Council for the Arts 2011-12 Lawrence County Concert Series.

The six-concert series features first-rate local, national and international solo and ensemble performances designed to delight and inspire concert-goers. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. on the Ohio University Southern campus in Ironton.

Season tickets may be purchased for all six shows or at the door for individual shows. Additional information may be found on line at

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A performance by world-class pianist Illya Filshtinskiy opens the 2011-12 Lawrence County Concert Series on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Along with his international stature as a concert pianist, Illya also has local ties. His parents are Elena Filshtinska-Burwell and David Burwell, originally of Ironton. He is the grandson of Carolyn Burwell of Ironton. Illya is a Ukranian-born, naturalized American and a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music in New York City with a bachelor of piano performance degree. He also holds a master of piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

He made his orchestra debut in 2002 at the age of 15 and played at Carnegie Hall that same year as the winner of the World Piano Competition. He has performed across the United States as well as in Europe and Asia. He last performed for the Lawrence County Concert Series in 2004.

Simple Gifts is a folk duo from central Pennsylvania which will perform on Saturday, Nov. 12.

They play traditional instrumental tunes from Appalachia, the Middle East, and Europe on various folk instruments including acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin and dulcimer. Both Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon are classically trained violinists. Linda continued her violin studies at Princeton University.

Karen grew up singing and harmonizing hymns at church and began taking violin lessons at age 10. Her fascination with blues and American folk music led her to study guitar, and to study a number of musical styles. She helped found an American old-time group, Rustical Quality, and toured America playing in a bluegrass band during the 1970s.

In addition to the Saturday evening performance at Ohio University Southern, Simple Gifts will be conducting a school residency program to introduce local children to the instruments and repertoire of traditional folk music.

They will also offer a free folk musician’s workshop on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 from 4-8 p.m. in the Riffe Center Mains Rotunda at OUS.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, the Singing Kernels, featuring their four-part barbershop harmony, will perform their annual Christmas show.

The group draws its members from all parts of the Tri-State and is equally well known for their “Singing Valentines.”

The group is directed by Paul Hesson, a former member of of both Disney World’s “Dapper Dans” and the Marshall University-based “Heritage Station,” which was the 1993 International College Quartet champion.

Another Marshall University connection will be featured on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, when two Marshall University faculty members take the stage as the Violata Duo. Flutist Wendell Dobbs will join guitarist Julio Alves to perform music from North and South America along with ancient music from Europe. Soprano Linda Dobbs will also perform folk songs with the group.

Three dynamic and engaging musicians from the Cincinnati area come together for the first time as the Bravura Trio on Saturday, March 24, performing such masterworks as Beethoven’s Archduke Trio and the Brahms Cello Sonata. The group consists of violinist Nancy Illman and cellist Jennifer Higgins Wheatley. While this is the group’s debut as a trio, all three have extensive performing experience both at home and abroad.

The 2011-12 concert series will close with a performance by the Petar Jankovic Ensemble. This is a collaboration of international award-winning classical guitarist and prestigious Indiana University School of Music faculty member Jankovic, and a string quartet comprised of brilliant international musicians, also from Indiana University.

This unique and fresh blend of guitar and string quartet currently tours with original arrangements of Spanish and Latin American classical music.