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Music to Gwinnett”s Ears

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March 7, 2005 will be a milestone in the history of the arts in Gwinnett County. On that evening, the Gwinnett Philharmonic will present its 10th Anniversary Celebration Concert with the music of Bach, Rossini, Gershwin, Bernstein and "All the Best of Broadway!" The event will be especially sweet for Gwinnett Philharmonic Founding Music Director Monte Nichols. He had shared the idea for such an organization a decade ago with other Gwinnett Community leaders.

"In 1994 Forrest Robinson and I were discussing the progress on the construction of the Performing Arts Center," said Nichols. "I asked, “Do you think a professional orchestra will ever perform on that stage?” His reply, “It”s inevitable.”"

The inevitable became reality in January 1995, when the Gwinnett Philharmonic Association, Inc. was founded as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. In March of that year, people from all over the county came to see the newly finished Performing Arts Center and hear of the plans to launch the Gwinnett Philharmonic. Hundreds of people joined the presenting organization that week, and the membership of the Gwinnett Philharmonic Association was up and running.

The Gwinnett Philharmonic has grown and flourished under Nichols” guidance, but he has more plans in store for the organization. "In the next 10 years, we hope to grow in several ways. We hope to build the audience, helping more people of all ages to discover the thrill of hearing a “live” symphony orchestra for the first time. We also want to build the base of support such as growing a permanent endowment. We also want to build on the success of the orchestra itself – continuing to attract wonderful musicians and programming Great Music."

These concerts, featuring the full orchestra and known as "The Gwinnett Philharmonic Plays Series," have been so successful that a second "season" was launched two years ago. "The Gwinnett Philharmonic Presents Series" offers concerts by soloists and ensembles with fewer musicians than the 60+ musician full orchestra. The Philharmonic”s season this year will end with such a concert, featuring the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta on May 16.

But first, The Gwinnett Philharmonic will be in concert on Tuesday, January 18 with the full orchestra performing a program that includes Mozart”s Overture to Don Giovanni; Haydn”s " Oxford" Symphony; and Beethoven”s spectacular Piano Concerto No. 5, "The Emperor." The Beethoven concerto will feature guest soloist William Ransom, Piano Professor at Emory University.

In addition, the 10th Anniversary Celebration Concert in March will be special in yet another way. To accommodate the numbers of people who want to be a part of the occasion, a second concert will be performed on March 14 featuring the same musicians and program as the week before.

Tickets for all performances can be obtained through TicketMaster at 404-249-6400 or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office. Learn more by visiting www.gwinnettphilharmonic.org.