September 2009: Henry Doktorski appeared with the Erie Philharmonic in two performances of Arturs Maskats' Tango, on September 26 at the Warner Theater in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, and on September 27 at the Shafer Auditorium at Allegheny College in Meadville.
The orchestra was conducted by the Music Director of the Erie Philharmonic, Daniel Meyer, who also serves as Music Director for the Asheville North Carolina Symphony and Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and as Resident Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Composer Arturs Maskats was born in Valmiera, Latvia, in 1957. After graduating from the Latvian State Conservatory, he served for fifteen years as the Music Director and Resident Composer at Riga's Dailes Theatre. Since 1996 he has been music director of the Latvian National Opera. In 2002 he became Professor of Composition at the Vitols Academy of Music. He was awarded the Latvian Grand Music Award three times, and has produced over 140 works for chorus, orchestra, cinema and theater productions.
Mindful of Ravel's famous orchestra piece, La Valse,, Maskats decided to undertake a similar orchestral work using the tango dance form. At the prestigious British "Masterprize" competition in 2003, with over 1,000 entires by composers from 65 countries, Maskats' Tango was selected as one of the six prizewinners. Its performance continues to be repeated, including three performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2005 in which Doktorski also appeared as accordionist.
Doktorski said, "I was very happy to perform on accordion in Maskats' Tango with the Erie Philharmonic. Not having heard the Erie orchestra, I did not know what to expect, but at the first rehearsal I was pleased to discover that the orchestra was composed of extremely high-calibre musicians with lush tone and superb technique. Maestro Meyer was precise and articulate with his baton and the orchestra members responded appropriately to his cues. I really enjoyed playing with this fine orchestra."
Photo of Erie Philharmonic by Cheyenne Nicole Shaffer. For more about Artur Maskats' Tango and Doktorski's 2005 performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Click Here.