January 11, 2008

Ax concert tickets make a great Valentine's gift

by Andrea Hahn


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Pssst, here's a hint for an unforgettable Valentine's Day gift. Take one long-stemmed rose or other appropriate conveyance, attach to it a pair of tickets to the April 1 Emanuel Ax concert at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Shryock Auditorium, present with a flourish to the object of your affection.

It's a gift that is both romantic and sophisticated, showing forethought and good taste. You genius, you!

Emanuel Ax has seven Grammy awards to his name so far, several of them with the equally famous cellist, his friend and collaborator Yo-Yo Ma. Ax's performances of Beethoven account for two of his Grammies. And Beethoven – specifically the "Emperor" piano concerto – is what is on the program for Ax's Carbondale performance.

Emanuel Ax has been famous as long as many college students have been alive. In 1996, talking with Charlie Rose about his then 20 year association with Ma, Ax said that many times musical performance reflects "the way you personally feel about life." He referred to the piano as "the big black beast," admitted to feelings of panic "all the time" and said one reason Brahms was one of his favorite composers is because Brahms was fat. Personality, he said, along with talent, interest and perseverance, are the things that lead a musician to fame.

This personal sense of Ax is something that can only come from a live performance. Fans of classical music simply cannot miss this performance. For those new or relatively uninitiated in classical music, this is the performance to see.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on April 1. Tickets are $55. Students enjoy a special ticket price of $10. Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster at www.siuc.edu/shryock. Patrons may also buy them at the SIU Arena or Student Center ticket offices, by calling 618/453-2000 or the day of the performance at Shryock Auditorium.

The SIUC Student Fine Arts Activity Fees underwrite Ax's appearance. Proceeds from the concert benefit the School of Music scholarship and visiting artist funds.