SE Kansas Symphony opens 2021-2022 season with ‘From Russia With Love’

Interview is edited for clarity.

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. This morning, we have a unique interview to share, featuring the Director of the Southeast Kansas Symphony Raul Munguia and special guests that have spent the week at Pittsburg State meeting new friends, teaching Master’s classes and preparing for the opening of the 2021-2022 SEK Symphony that takes place on Sunday at 3 pm at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The theme of the performance, From Russia with Love. Here’s Raul….

RAUL MUNGUIA (GUEST HOST AND INTERVIEWER) : Good morning. My name is Raul Munguia, Director of Orchestras at Pittsburg State university. And I’m sitting here with two guests, artists that will be collaborating in our opening concert with the SEK symphony orchestra on Sunday at three o’clock. Maestro Vladimir Gorbik and Maestro Luigi Borzilla from Italy and from Russia.

It is a pleasure for me to have you both here. Maestro Gorbik, can you tell us what your responsibilities are and where do you teach?

VLADIMIR GORBIK : You invited me for a masterclass as a conductor for your students, student conductors. And I am the head conductor of the Capitol symphony orchestra and Moscow and associate professor, The Moscow state conservatory.

So I would like to share, uh, all of my experiences, all of my skills for your students. We will prepare all Russian program or Prokofiev. She to remember Julia Julietta, the first piano concerto by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, three songs. All of these piece are very Russian. (chuckles)

S o I’m very excited because I’m Russian program is Russian and we will collaborate with Maestro from Italy, Tchaikovsky lived in Italy, so there were many different events, our rehearsal and concerts.

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO : At this point in the interview, Professor Gorbik will speak through an interpreter, Tatiana Goris, who is an Assistant Professor at the College of Technology at Pittsburg State and a native Russian.

Conductor of the SEK Symphony Raul Munguia

TATIANA GORIS (INTERPRETER) : So when Romeo and Juliet was written, it was very dramatical time and was the beginning of the 20th century and basically the first war, was around the corner. And it was a very tragical time for maybe even entire planets, not just for Russia, but specifically for Russia. In the beginning of 20th century, the Russian empire had a lot of very difficult times followed by a civil war of the revolution and those things.

And after that 20 years, 30 years after the second world war. So it was very tragical time for Russia. Well, typically scenario, quite open buildup by conductors when they make a drama, even to more dramatical conditions. So, it kind of a common pattern where you make an dramatical event, even more dramatical, it’s kind of a systematical approach to write big music pieces.

Drama goes to more drama. So it’s why Prokofiev takens is a very sensitive piece, from Romeo and Juliet and very tragical time, beginning of 20th century to show basically how tragical and, uh, sensitive our lives are, how important a relationship and love between people. And basically he has taken the drama of Romeo and Juliet and writings, a space in a very dramatical time, beginning of the 20th century.

RAUL MUNGUIA : Okay, Luigi very quickly. Tell us something about the piano concerto that you’re gonna perform.

LUIGI BORZILLA : Yes. Tchaikovsky concert. It’s surely one of the masterpieces. And I can say that is surely the piece that every pianist in the world dreams to play. It’s one of the masterpieces and has been, um, new in his time, when it was published.

In the later romantic period, composers like Lists? and after Tchaikovsky was looking for a way to exit from the classic tradition of Chopin. And when the orchestra was simply like an accompaniment. Let’s think that a Chopin concert could also play with, uh, quartet. We are in, uh, in another completely non-ideal universe of a variety, uh, the texture of the orchestra and the piano, it’s thought of in another way.

I mean, it’s nothing like piano soloists, and the orchestra, that super team. The piano it’s in a lot of point, it’s treated by Tchaikovsky like an instrument of the orchestra. I mean, there are some parts of the piano accompany that the piano is the counterpoint into the texture of writing.

And this is the new era of Tchaikovsky for surely there are the famous Octa of Bravo, this is the crazy technique in the concert that Tchaikovsky put, even if he was not a pianist.

RAUL MUNGUIA : No. And I can tell you, you know, the, the, the symphony part, I mean, the, the, the symphonic part of the concerto, it’s very complex. It’s really, really interesting. And I feel the audience is going to have a blast, you know, knowing Tchaikovsky union in the string section, for example, very weird touristic, calming descending. You hear that? Uh, in, in many of his pieces, but you also hear that in the piano is a line. So it’s really nice to see that, you know, so for audiences that don’t play. Any instrument or probably play piano and then play another instrument. And it will be interesting to see that one.

Another thing that I admire about Tchaikovsky also is how he explores the volume of the instrument. I mean, the piano can be so intimate and so. As well as soul grandiose on so big exploring the maximum volume of the piano. So that’s really, that’s one of the things that I’m looking forward to. So, and I know you played this very well because I’ve seen videos of you. So thank you very much to both Maestro Gorbik and Maestro Borzilla, it’s actually a pleasure to have you here and I hope you have fun this week. And I want to include another invitation for audiences here in the Southeast Kansas area.

The concert is open to everybody. Tickets are sold at the ticket office right at the window in the concert hall. So please come on Sunday at three o’clock and experience some really great music by really great musicians, playing here with our students here in the university. So thank you very much.

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO : Conductor of the SEK Symphony at Pittsburg State, Raul Munguia speaking with conductor Vladimir Gorbik, Assistant Professor at the Moscow State Conservatory and Italian pianist Luigi Borzillo, with Tatiana Goris as interpreter for Professor Gorbik about the SEK’s Smyphones From Russia with Love concert on Sunday, at 3 PM at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts at PSU. For information, including how to purchase tickets, visit

You can find out more information about the performance and hear this interview again at our news blog. For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro.

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