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George Takei joins Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for performance | Events

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George Takei joins Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for performance
Events, People, Style
George Takei joins Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for performance

Celebrity activist George Takei joins the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to narrate Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw at concert featuring a message of hope and unity with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

LITTLE ROCK, AR, January 30, 2012 – The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra joins forces with actor and activist George Takei, 2012 Celebrity Apprentice participant and Mr. Sulu of Star Trek fame, and over 400 chorus members to celebrate the human spirit. Ode to Joy will be performed on Saturday, February 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 26 at 3 p.m. at the Robinson Center Music Hall. This concert is the fifth Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Concert and is sponsored by Windstream.

Takei, whose appearance is underwritten by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, will take the stage as narrator during Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw. The narration that accompanies this piece depicts the story of a concentration camp survivor from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Takei, a Japanese American who as a child was interned at an internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II, is a supporter of human right issues and community activist.  Takei is chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and was appointed to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission by former President Clinton.

Just after Schoenberg’s moving piece, Maestro Philip Mann and the ASO musicians will be joined by over 400 voices from the state of Arkansas for Beethoven’s prayer for hope and peace, Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy.  “This is perhaps the most recognizable work in the history of classical music, and for good reason,” said Mann. “Its message of triumph and victory through a shared brotherhood between peoples is an enduring, timeless, and transcendent declaration. Seen as a watershed movement in music history, the work has gained such significance and is now synonymous with important moments in world history—like its performance marking the re-unification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall.” 

Children kindergarten through 12th grade can attend our Sunday matinee performances for free (with the purchase of an adult ticket) using the Entergy Kids Ticket – available for download at www.ArkansasSymphony.org. Adult single tickets range from $14-$52 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org or over the phone at (501) 666-1761. Student and military tickets are $10.

 Program Details


Saturday, February 25 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, February 26 at 3 p.m.

Robinson Center Music Hall



George Takei, narrator
Schoenberg Chorus
             River City Men’s Chorus
Beethoven Chorus
            Arkansas State University
            Harding University
            Hendrix College
            Lyon College
            Ouachita Baptist University
            Philander Smith College
            Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia
            University of Arkansas at Little Rock
            University of Arkansas at Monticello
            Members of River City Men’s Chorus

Philip Mann, conductor

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra



SCHOENBERG                        A Survivor from Warsaw

BEETHOVEN                          Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy”


George Takei, narrator

With a career spanning five decades, actor George Takei is best known for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise. George starred in three seasons of Star Trek and later reprised his iconic role in six movies.

Widely recognized for his vocal talents, George has been a guest narrator with numerous symphony orchestras. He narrated "Sci-Fi Spectacular" with the Naples (Florida) Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2011, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in July 2010, Cleveland Orchestra in August 2009, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra in April 2009, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in January 2009, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in January 2008, and Seattle Symphony in September 2007. All seven concerts were conducted by Jack Everly. George narrated "Look to the Future" with the San Francisco Symphony in July 2009. In February 2008, George hosted "To Boldly Go" with the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Sarah Hatsuko Hicks.

In November 2004, George narrated Copeland's Lincoln Portrait with the Honolulu Symphony conducted by Samuel Wong. He has narrated Johan de Meij's Symphony No. 1: The Lord of the Rings with the Springfield, Mass., Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kevin Rhodes as well as with the Long Island Philharmonic, Denver Symphony Orchestra, Orange County California Wind Orchestra, and the Imperial Symphony Orchestra of Lakeland, Florida, all conducted by David Warble.

George is a member of the cast of Nickelodeon's live-action comedy series, Supah Ninjas. George starred in the film Larry Crowne opposite Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, released in July 2011 from Universal Pictures. George has also lent his voiceover talent to hundreds of characters in film, television, video games and commercials including Mulan, Mulan II, The Simpsons, Scooby-Do and the Samurai Sword, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Smurfs and George Lucas' Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Adding to his body of work, George has also provided narration on many projects including the 2009 PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, the 2006 Peabody Award-winning radio documentary, Crossing East, centered on the history of Asian American immigration to the United States and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (cassette), which garnered George a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Spoken Word category.

George was born in Los Angeles, California. With the outbreak of World War II, he and his family together with 120,000 other Japanese Americans were placed behind the barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps. George spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in the swamps of Arkansas and at wind-swept Camp Tule Lake in northern California.


Philip Mann, Music Director

Hailed by the BBC as a "talent to watch out for, who conveys a mature command of his forces," American conductor Philip Mann is quickly gaining a reputation as an "expressively graceful yet passionate" artist on three continents. Newly appointed as music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, he formerly served as the San Diego Symphony's Associate Conductor and was an American Conducting Fellow/assistant conductor, where he has conducted over 200 performances of Jacobs Subscription Masterworks, Symphony Exposed, family, young people's concerts, Kinder Konzert, pops, and other special programs.

His most recent subscription appearance was described by the San Diego Union Tribune, "Mann was masterful. a skilled musical architect, designing and executing a beautifully paced interpretation, which seemed to spring from somewhere deep within the music rather than superimposed upon it." The winner of the Vienna Philharmonic's Karajan Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival, he has served as cover conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra and as the Schmidt Conducting Fellow of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Mann has worked with leading artists such as Joshua Bell, Sharon Isbin, Marvin Hamlisch and given world premiers of major composers including John Corigliano. He maintains a lively schedule as a guest conductor having conducted at New York's Avery Fischer Hall and London's Barbican Center. Active in symphonic, operatic, and new music repertories, he has served as music director of the Oxford City Opera and Oxford Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra.

Elected a Rhodes Scholar, Mann studied and taught at Oxford, and won the annual competition to become principal conductor of the Oxford University Philharmonia. Under his leadership, the Philharmonia's performances and tours received international press and acclaim. Mann studied with Alan Hazeldine of London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Colin Metters at the Royal Academy of Music, and Marios Papadopolous of the Oxford Philomusica. He worked with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.s National Conducting Institute and Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony. Mentorship with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jorma Panula followed at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Conducting Masterclasses. He has also worked under Imre Pallo, David Effron, John Poole, and Thomas Baldner at Indiana University where he was appointed visiting lecturer in orchestral conducting, and worked as assistant conductor at the IU Opera Theater. Additional studies came under the Bolshoi Theater's music director, Alexander Vedernikov at the Moscow State Conservatory, Gustav Meir, Kenneth Keisler, and with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Robert Ward.

Trained as a violinist, Mann has appeared as a soloist, concertmaster, and chamber player in the USA and abroad. He is the recipient of numerous awards including commendations from several cities, and the state of California.


Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 46th season in 2011-2012 under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than thirty concerts each year through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series and River Rhapsodies Chamber Series, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 20,000 school children and over 200 schools.

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