Thu September 21 | 7:30 PM



Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody opens our exhilarating season in a concert that introduces composer Michael Djupstrom with From the Northern Wilds.


September 21, 2023 7:30 PM



Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Michael Djupstrom, composer
Claire Huangci, piano

Michael Djupstrom | From the Northern Wilds

Rachmaninov | Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Prokofiev | Symphony No. 5

Our 2023/24 season takes flight with a concert that showcases the virtuosity of every member of the orchestra, especially in Sergei Prokofiev’s glorious Symphony No. 5. Imaginative pianist Claire Huangci will perform Sergei Rachmaninov’s poetic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which ingeniously transforms one of classical music’s most familiar and beloved themes into an inspiring showpiece. From the Northern Wilds introduces us to our final First Symphony Project Composer, Michael Djupstrom and charts the Missouri River’s flowing and majestic course from its start at an unmarked Montana spring.


This concert will be broadcast on KWAX 91.1 on Friday, October 13, at 10 am.



  • Symphony Happy Hour | Monday, September 18 at 5th Street Market Eateries at 5 pm. No cost to attend! Grab a drink and join Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong to learn about the musical works and composers featured in Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
  • Piano Master Class | Wednesday, September 20 in the Studio at The Hult Center at 4 pm. Acclaimed pianist Claire Huangci will work with three talented piano students as part of the Laura Avery Visiting Masters Series.
  • Pre-Concert Talk | In the Studio at 6:30 pm before the concert. Get insight and historical context for the pieces to be performed. Please enter through Hult Center Lobby, not through the exterior studio entrance.

About Michael Djupstrom

Michael Djupstrom

Composer and pianist Michael Djupstrom's work captured first prizes in the international composition competitions of the UK’s Delius Society, the American Viola Society, the Chinese Fine Arts Society, and has received awards from prominent institutions including the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship, Charles Ives Scholarship), Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Pew Fellowship), New Music USA, S&R Foundation (Grand Prize, Washington Awards), Meet the Composer, American Composers Forum, Music Teachers National Association, Académie musicale de Villecroze, and the Sigurd and Jarmila Rislov Foundation, among many others. In 2017, the MacDowell Colony awarded him one of its prestigious artist residencies for the composition of his String Quartet No. 2.

Recent commissions have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, National Cherry Blossom Festival, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Tanglewood Music Center, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, Music From Angel Fire, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, International Opera Theater, Lyra Society, Lotte Lehmann Foundation, and the Cavatina Duo, among others.

Djupstrom’s chamber music is presented regularly across the USA by ensembles including the Dover Quartet, Network for New Music, Dolce Suono, Lyric Fest, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Music from Copland House, ensemblenewSRQ, Definiens Project, Sound Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Juventas, Sounds New, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and his works have been performed and broadcast in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, Austria, Germany, Canada, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, Taiwan, China, and Japan. In recent seasons, his special interest in Romanian classical music led him to present at the 2017 George Enescu Festival of McGill University and to pursue advanced language study in summer 2019 with the assistance of a Romanian government scholarship; in November 2019, he presented a recital highlighting contemporary Romanian and American works at the annual Meridian Festival in Bucharest. A 2020 grant from the S&R Foundation aims to share this passion for Romanian music through the creation of a new concert series at the Hanifl Center for Performing Arts in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

As a pianist, Djupstrom has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia-based new music ensemble Relâche. His passion for chamber music has led to concerts for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, the British Library, S&R Foundation, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Astral Artists, Yale University, and many other presenting organizations. His festival appearances include Hong Kong’s “Intimacy of Creativity,” Music From Angel Fire, Tanglewood, Brevard, and the Académie musicale de Villecroze; he has performed in major metropolitan cities throughout the world, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington DC, Houston, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Madrid, Bucharest, Tokyo, Shenzhen, Montréal, and Aix-en-Provence. He has recorded for American Public Media's popular "Performance Today" radio program, Radio Television Hong Kong's Radio 4, and the Equilibrium, American Modern, and Meyer Media labels.

As a music educator, Djupstrom has taught composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, theory and orchestration for Boston University, ear training for the University of Michigan, and piano at Settlement Music School. He has been a guest teacher and presenter at Rice University, Westminster Choir College, Montana State University, Rowan University, Shasta Community College, National University of Music of Bucharest, International School of Brussels, Paris Conservatory, and Yichao Music Training Center in Shenzhen, China.

Djupstrom received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, where he studied with composers Bright Sheng, William Bolcom, Susan Botti, Karen Tanaka, and Eric Santos. Djupstrom pursued further studies in Paris with Betsy Jolas, whom he later worked for as assistant. He also holds an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of Jennifer Higdon and Richard Danielpour. He lives in Philadelphia.

About Claire Huangci

Claire Huangci

The American pianist Claire Huangci, winner of the 2018 Geza Anda Competition, continuously captivates audiences with her “radiant virtuosity, artistic sensitivity, keen interactive sense and subtle auditory dramaturgy” (Salzburger Nachrichten). With an irrepressible curiosity and penchant for unusual repertoire, she proves her versatility with a wide range of repertoire spanning from Bach and Scarlatti via German and Russian romanticism to Bernstein, Gulda and Corigliano.

Kicking off a busy 2022/23 season, Claire will open the Frankfurt Museumskonzerte cycle making her debut at Alte Oper, followed by further openings at the Wiesbaden Staatsorchester and Stuttgart Philharmonic. She will travel internationally for concerts with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, Slovenian RTV orchestra, Orchestra della Toscana and the National Philharmonic Orchestra in the US. Further highlights include a tour with the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz and performances with the Hofer Symphoniker, Wuerttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, Badische Staatskapelle, Baden Baden philharmonic and the Munich chamber orchestra. To celebrate Rachmaninov’s 150th birthday in 2023, Claire presents solo recitals with his preludes in venues such as Beethovenhaus Bonn, Frankfurt Alte Oper and Brussels Flagey piano days.

In solo recitals and with international orchestras, Claire Huangci has appeared in some of the most prestigious halls such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall Tokyo, NCPA Beijing, Paris Philharmonie, Munich Gasteig, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salzburg Festspielhaus and the Budapest Franz Liszt Akademie. She is a welcome guest of renowned festivals including the Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival and Klavier Festival Ruhr. Her esteemed musical partners include the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, ORF Radio Orchester Vienna, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Basel Chamber Orchestra, together with Elim Chan, Michael Francis, Howard Griffiths, Pietari Inkinen, Jun Märkl, Cornelius Meister, Sir Roger Norrington, Eva Ollikainen, Alexander Shelley and Mario Venzago.

Claire Huangci began her international career at the age of nine with concert performances and competition victories. After studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, she moved to Germany in 2007 for further studies with Arie Vardi at the Hannover Musikhochschule, graduating with honors in 2016 and assisting him. Early in her artistic career, she stood out as an expressive interpreter of Chopin, winning first prizes at the European Chopin competition and US National Chopin competition in 2009 and 2010. She was also the youngest participant to receive second prize at the International ARD Music Competition in 2011. In 2019, Claire was awarded the grand prize at the Chambre Orchestre de Paris Play-Direct academy.

Her extensive discography again shows her keen interest in a diverse pool of repertoire, with her latest albums (Mendelssohn works with Marc Bouchkov, Howard Griffiths and the Basel Chamber Orchestra as well as the complete Bach toccatas) again receiving high acclaim. Further along in the 22/23 season, Claire will release Mozart concertos with Howard Griffiths and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, to be released on Alpha Classics. After recording her debut CD in 2013 with solo works of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev and her prizewinning double album of Scarlatti sonatas (German Record Critics’ Award and Gramophone Editor’s Choice), her solo albums included complete recordings of Chopin’s Nocturnes and Rachmaninoff’s Préludes, followed by her first chamber music album with Trio Machiavelli in 2020. Concerto recordings include Beethoven’s violin concerto in his piano version with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Schubert’s Fantasy for piano and orchestra with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chopin and Paderewski concertos with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbruecken.

She is a proud ambassador of the Henle Verlag.

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LOCATION: Hult Center for the Performing Arts

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