USC Announces Maestro’s Farewell Season


Portnoy formal

Donald Portnoy retires after the USC Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-2017 season


The USC Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming season celebrates Maestro Donald Portnoy’s 31 years leading Carolina’s premier orchestra. His music leadership has drawn out the very best in thousands of young musicians. The Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Fine Arts retires as director of the USC Symphony Orchestra and Orchestral Studies after the 2016-2017 academic year.


Portnoy has received countless accolades throughout his years conducting the university’s orchestra – one of the top university orchestras in the region. He will continue to teach conducting and violin and direct the Conductors Institute of South Carolina at USC.


All concerts take place at the Koger Center for the Arts (1051 Greene St., Columbia, SC) at 7:30 p.m.

A pre-concert Prelude Talk with Maestro Portnoy takes place at 6:45 p.m. prior to each performance.

Season subscriptions: Save with a season subscription (7 concerts) and enjoy the best seats in the house: $150

Discounts: $110 seniors, USC faculty and staff; $45 students.

Single concert tickets:  $30 general public; Discounts: $25 seniors, USC faculty and staff; $8 students.

Call 803-251-2222 or Koger Box Office, corner of Greene and Park Streets (M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or online at

The Russian Romantics Thur., Sept. 13, 2016

Marina Lomazov, piano

The first concert of the new season includes Marina Lomazov performing on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. Praised by critics as “a diva of the piano” (The Salt Lake City Tribune), “a mesmerizing risk-taker” (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), and “simply spectacular” (Chicago International Music Foundation), Ukrainian-American pianist Marina Lomazov has established herself as one of the most passionate and charismatic performers on the concert scene today. Following prizes in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, William Kapell International Piano Competition, Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Lomazov has given performances worldwide. She is the Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Fine Arts at USC and a Steinway Artist.


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) – Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op.36

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, op 18

John Williams Blockbusters! Tue., Oct. 18, 2016

Clifford Leaman, saxophone

Back by popular demand, the USC Symphony Orchestra performs more Signature Editions of legendary American composer John Williams. Experience award-winning music from The Adventures of Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Clifford Leaman, professor of saxophone at USC joins the orchestra on “Escapades” for alto saxophone and orchestra from Catch Me If You Can. American Record Guide wrote, “Leaman reveals himself to be an artist of technical brilliance and emotional commitment.”


Hanson and Shostakovich Tue., Nov. 15, 2016 Sandy Cameron, violin Declared “brilliant” by the Washington Post and “a shameless showstopper” by the New York Times, virtuoso violinist Sandy Cameron joins the orchestra on Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto in A minor. Broadway World declared “Sandy Cameron was a real showstopper…dancing, bobbing, prowling, weaving, and playing up a storm…”


Howard Hanson (1896-1981)- Symphony No. 1 in E minor, op. 21 (Nordic) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) - Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 77

Maestro Portnoy and Friends Thur., Jan. 19, 2017

Join guest soloists and friends of Maestro Donald Portnoy as they celebrate the Maestro’s years of conducting and music making. Artists and repertoire to be announced.

Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody Tue., Feb. 21, 2017 Joyce Yang, piano

This concert presents music from Copland to Mozart to Rachmaninoff and is sure to shake off the February chill. Special guest Joyce Yang, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, showcases her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras. Praised for “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism and interpretive prowess.


Aaron Copland (1900-1990) - El Salon Mexico

Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) - Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 (Haffner)

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43


Dvořák and the Historic Cello of Pablo Casals

Tue., March 21, 2017

Amit Peled, cello

Amit Peled is professor of cello at Peabody Conservatory of Music and a highly sought-after performer and pedagogue. The New York Times wrote of Peled’s “glowing tone” and “seductive timbre.” He performs on the historic cello of Pablo Casals (a Goffriller ca. 1733) for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor. Performances by winners of the USC Concert-Aria Competition also play on this concert – performers and program to be announced.


Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) - Cello Concerto in B minor, op. 104 TBA- USC Concert-Aria Competition winners

Grand Finale: The Spirit of Romanticism

Tue., April 18, 2017

Vadim Gluzman, violin

Celebrate Maestro Portnoy and the USC Symphony Orchestra’s rousing season finale, as they perform magnificent masterworks from the Romantic period. Israeli guest artist Vadim Gluzman’s performances are heard around the world through live broadcasts and a striking catalog of award-winning recordings. He plays the extraordinary 1690 ‘ex-Leopold Auer’ Stradivari and returns to USC to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. wrote that Gluzman “plays the violin as if it was the thing on the earth to do. He produces a beautiful cantilena violin tone…delivers strong rhythms and virtuosity as natural components…”


Richard Wagner (1813-1883) - Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) - Symphony No. 8 in G Major, op. 88

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) - Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35