Henderson Going Solo at Symphony Concerts


ST. LOUIS — Peter Henderson, D.M., assistant professor of music at Maryviille University, who has performed with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions as an ensemble member, will be a featured soloist in the Symphony’s two concerts this Friday and Saturday (January 18 and 19) at Powell Symphony Hall. Henderson will be featured in Martinu’s “Double Concerto” during Symphony concerts at 10:30 a.m., Friday, and 8 p.m., Saturday, that will be conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

“I always believe that it’s an honor to perform with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra,” said Henderson, who has performed with the Symphony’s keyboard section several times a year for the past few seasons. “The SLSO makes music of rare beauty on a weekly basis.” This weekend’s concerts also will feature solos by Jonathan Vinocour and Kathleen Mattis of the Symphony’s viola section during Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No.6.”

Henderson’s solo will come second in the concert program, following Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No.3.” Until it’s time for him to appear on stage, he’ll be warming up on a piano in the Green Room. Henderson said he uses breathing exercises to calm any pre-performance nerves. “I sometimes breathe slowly, counting to 10 during inhalations and exhalations,” he remarked. “This sometimes helps to lower my heart rate and make me feel more at ease.” He added, “My concentration is generally very good during performances, and I tend not to notice extraneous noises. Performing music well is very difficult and I can’t afford the luxury of losing my concentration!”

Henderson commented that playing a solo with the Saint Louis Symphony is “a rare opportunity, for which I’m very grateful” but that he’s not one to think of his career in terms of highlights. Rather, he prefers to evaluate the whole artistic process of his performance experiences. “I have greatly appreciated dozens of performances that I’ve been involved in, whether as a soloist, as a chamber musician, or within an orchestra, so they’re all ‘highlights’ to me. And working with Maryville’s students is a different kind of ‘highlight.’

Brian Nedwek, Ph.D., Maryville’s vice president for academic affairs, said the University is fortunate to have someone of Henderson’s caliber on its faculty. “Peter is an outstanding example of the talented, dedicated faculty we have at the University,” Nedwek said. “He has provided solid leadership for our Music program and support for our Music Therapy program. Maryville shares Peter’s excitement and pride in being chosen as a featured soloist for the Symphony this weekend.”

The SLSO currently is running a “Winter Pass” promotion ($99 for any concert at Powell Hall in January and February. For more information, click on http://slso.org/winterpass/index.htm. For more information on this weekend’s Symphony concerts, visit http://slso.org/notes/01-18-2008.htm.

Maryville University is a private institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,422 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers. Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.