Violin virtuoso Filip Pogády joins Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra at Arbogast this weekend

Guest violinist is Filip Pagody.

It was 1989 when Pat Carson and Keith Prentice, co-founders of Theatre Under the Stars, came up with the idea of creating an orchestra where talented local musicians from all walks of life could perform great symphonic music for the public.

The result is the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, now marking its 34th year. Currently under the direction of Conductor Awadagin Pratt, who joined the MVSO as the full-time conductor at the start of their 2023-2024 season,

The group is a labor of love for the volunteer musicians who participate. On Saturday, May 11, violin virtuoso Filip Pogády will join the orchestra for a concert featuring the music of Beethoven and Brahms. Held at the new Arbogast Performing Arts Center in Troy, it promises to be a lovely way to spend Mother’s Day weekend.

Selecting a program

Concertmaster John Root said after Pogády’s 2018 performance of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, there was little doubt that the Slovakian-born musician would be making a return engagement. “We had already selected the Beethoven violin concerto and Maestro Pratt’s choice to open with the String Sinfonia No. 2, composed by the twelve year old prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn, and end with Brahm’s final symphony and masterpiece, the fourth, is a powerful yet thoroughly enjoyable offering.”

Root said the Beethoven is a formidable challenge for any virtuoso. “The three movements do not fail to invoke deep emotions of elegance and intimacy culminating in a playful yet grand finale,” he said, adding that the audience can expect Pogády to demonstrate “electrifying technique with the ability to live in the moment.”

Meet Filip Pogády

Pogády has been praised by the press for the “beauty of his tone”, “lightning-like virtuosity” (Russkoe Slovo) and his “commanding performances”(The New York Times).

“The first time I played with the MVSO was back in 2018,” he recalled, adding that Root extended the invitation in an email and the collaboration happened shortly after. “I really enjoyed working with them; one can sense the tremendous enthusiasm of every single player, which makes it such a joy making music with them.”

Pogady, who performs with orchestras around the world, said he loves his life because it never gets boring. “Seeing new places, meeting new people and the music itself never gets old,” he said. “Even though I may have played some of these pieces hundreds of times, there is always something new to discover. It is always a challenge. That is what makes music so unbelievably fulfilling.”

He describes Beethoven’s Violin Concerto as a colossal work and a true staple of any violinist’s repertoire. “It is equally loved, respected and feared,” he admits. " The violin part is very exposed - the first movement consists of lots of scales and feels almost a little rhapsodic to me. The second movement, in a way, is the main act and speaks the truth like only Beethoven can. The third movement is a very joyous Rondo, that ends, like many big works by Beethoven, in what feels like humanity emerging victorious over its shortcomings. Much of his music has this sentiment, for example the Choral Fantasy or - most famously his 9th Symphony with the “Ode to joy”.

This will be the first time Pogády has worked with conductor Pratt. “Needless to say he is a phenomenal pianist and musician with a huge passion for Beethoven’s music, so I am looking forward to learning from him as we work our way through this masterpiece.”

Pratt, who began playing piano at age 6, entered the University of Illinois at 16 where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting.

In February 2024, Pratt was acknowledged at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards for his piano role in the Grammy-winning composition by Jessie Montgomery. The “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” went to Montgomery for her work Rounds, featuring a piece entitled “A Fry Cry,” which was performed by Awadagin Pratt. The piece was commissioned by Pratt’s Art of the Piano Foundation and written especially for him by Montgomery.

Root said the orchestra is thrilled to be working with Awadagin. “We had an introduction to his conducting style when he performed with us as piano soloist and additionally as conductor on the Beethoven Coriolan Overture last season,” he said. “The same passion he brings to his mastery of the piano is equally present in his interpretations while conducting. He stirs a force from within that moves the orchestra in harmony with him to bring out the nuances that turn good performances into great ones.”

How to go

What: “Beethoven and Brahms.” The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra with guest violinist Filip Pogády

When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 11

Where: The Arbogast Performing Arts Center, 500 S. Dorset Road, Troy

Tickets: $20 and up. Can be purchased by calling the APAC Box Office at (937) 418-8392, in person at the venue or online at


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