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Garland Symphony Orchestra Presents its 2014-15 Season, "la bella Italia!"

The Garland Symphony Orchestra (GSO) presents its 2014-15 season, “la bella Italia!” at the Granville Arts Center, Brownlee Auditorium. The season opens Friday, Oct. 17 and all performances are at 8 p.m.
This season, the Garland Symphony Orchestra will bring you masterworks in celebration of Italy’s glorious and enduring musical heritage. “The ninety-three virtuoso musicians of the GSO and I invite you to join us for an exhilarating musical tour of ‘la bella Italia!’”—Robert Carter Austin, music director.

The GSO will feature pianist Simone Sala, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Simone Sala was born in 1982 in Bojano, Italy, where he began studying piano at age 9, continuing the 150-year family legacy of musicians. At age 20, he graduated with “10/10, laude and special honors” from L. Perosi Conservatorium in Campobasso, Italy, with a degree in piano as a student of M. Battista (Piano) and L. Salvadori (Composition). After graduation, he won a scholarship to attend the master classes of Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, where he met Joaquin Achucarro, considered one of the world’s finest pianists. In 2004, Mr. Sala received the gold medal from the Italian Republic President, an award reserved to those who gained merits in the field of school, culture and art. In 2006, he earned a full scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, to study with J. Achucarro. He graduated in April 2008 with an Artist Certificate. Currently, Mr. Sala is continuing his studies with J. Achucarro and pursuing a Master’s degree in Piano Performance at Southern Methodist University. As a classical pianist, Mr. Sala has performed recitals and concerts throughout Europe and the United States as a chamber musician and soloist, accompanied by orchestras such as the National Ukraine State Orchestra, Molise Regional Orchestra, Campobasso Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Donetsk Symphony Orchestra and several others. Since 1996, Mr. Sala has won First Prize in both National and International piano competitions including: National Piano Competition “Coppa Pianisti d’Italia” Osimo, Italy (in 1996 and 2003) • National Piano Competition “Città di Ortona” Ortona, Italy (1996 and 2003) • National Piano Competition “Rassegna Giovani Musicisti” San Pietro in Vicoli (1996) • National Piano Competition “Pianistico—Strumentale” Pompeii, Italy (1999) • National Piano Competition “Miglio d’oro” Portici, Italy (1999) • National Piano Competition “Giovani Musicisti” Mercato San Saverino, Italy (1999) • International Piano Competition “Premio Napoli” Naples, Italy (2nd prize, 2000) • European Piano Competition “L. M. Altruda “Vasto, Italy (2000) • European Piano Competition “Concorso—Premo Aretusae—Siracusa, Italy (2001) • National Piano Competition “Scuola Concerto” Campobasso, Italy (2002) • International Piano Competition Castel Nuovo della Daunia, Italy (2004) • National Piano Competition, Rocchetta (2005) • International Piano Competition Guradiagrele (2005) • “Concerto Competition” SMU, Dallas (2007) • “Texas Young Artists Competition” with J. Jones, Conroe, USA (2008) • “Premio Cafaro” Magliano Sabina, Italy (2008) • “Premio Napolitano” Vietri sul Mare, Italy (2008) • “Hubbard Music Competition” Heath, USA (2009).

In addition to Mr. Sala’s solo performance, the GSO also will perform Verdi’s Overture to The Sicilian Vespers, Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours, and music from Khachaturian’s Spartacus.

The Garland Symphony Orchestra credits Music Director Robert Carter Austin, for its continued outstanding and diverse orchestral programming. Maestro Austin’s background encompasses more than 30 years of professional music experience and includes degrees from MIT, Cambridge University, and Stanford University. Maestro Austin’s musical experience includes conducting performances in countries including: Korea, Ukraine, Canada, Italy, Spain, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Colombia, Philippines, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and the United States.