Trio of Classical Music Artists to Perform at Polk State College

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

A trio of classical music artists will convene at Polk State College to offer the public a rousing, emotional night of performance.

“Philosophie Fantastique: The Color of Sound,” will take place Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre on Polk State’s Winter Haven campus. Tickets are $5, with proceeds benefiting the event sponsor, the Lakeland chapter of the PSC Philosophy Club.

Humanities professor and Philosophy Club adviser Derek Menchan, who will perform on the cello, said he is particularly excited about the event’s special guest: fellow cellist Damon Coleman.

“This guy is a rarity,” Menchan said.

Coleman has served as principal cellist with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan Chamber Orchestra. He currently is a member of the Toledo Symphony. He has performed in concert halls around the world and has been featured on PBS and NPR.

In addition to performing on the Winter Haven campus, Coleman will give a lecture on “Aesthetics: The Synergy Between Philosophy and Music” from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 28 in the Student Center TV room on the Lakeland campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Winter Haven campus Provost Dr. Sharon Miller said the concert and lecture will complement the classroom studies of Polk State students while also engaging the broader community.

“Polk State College’s circle of cultural and academic influence is strengthened because of our ability to draw talented musicians to the community,” she said. “The arts are a very important aspect of a Polk State student’s thorough education.”

Also performing at “Philosophie Fantastique” will be Laurent Boukobza, a professor and chairman of piano studies at the University of Central Florida, who has previously played at Polk State.

“He is 50 miles away. How often is it you have one of the best pianists in the world right here,” Menchan said.

Boukobza holds a master’s in music from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, and has a long list of musical competition titles to his name. He regularly performs in prestigious international music festivals and is a member of Sirba Octet, which features members of the world-renowned Orchestre de Paris.

Menchan will complete the night’s ensemble. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Houston. He has performed as a solo cellist for the New York Pro Arte Ensemble, the Orlando Symphony and Houston’s OrchestraX. He has also collaborated with artists such as Ray Charles, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder.

Menchan said “Philosophie Fantastique” will include off-beat works by Schubert, Bach, Copland, Granados and Brahms, compositions attendees would normally have to travel hundreds of miles to enjoy.

 “We’re going to try to play music that’s rarely heard, not variations on ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and lullabies. Maybe in New York City, you would hear this music,” he said.

Boukobza described the planned repertoire as a wild, emotional ride.

“It will be fun. People take classical music so seriously, but all we are doing is expressing emotion,” he said. “Every type of emotion will be expressed, from love to sadness, happiness and melancholy.”

The idea of bringing big-city culture to Winter Haven was the driving force behind “Philosophie Fantastique,” said PSC Philosophy Club Lakeland Chapter President Patty De Toth.

“As philosophy students, we’re about thinking outside the box. This is a way of showing people that you can do more in life than read the same things and listen to the same music,” she said.

“It’s about broadening our horizons.”

A reception will take place after the concert at the Winter Haven Student Center.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the cashier’s office on either the Lakeland or Winter Haven campus. Tickets will also be available on the night of the concert at the Fine Arts Theatre box office beginning at 5 p.m.