The Orchestra at Temple Square will perform its annual spring concert March 18-19 at the Salt Lake Tabernacle at 7:30 p.m., and this year it will have an extra twist.
The volunteer orchestra conducted by Igor Gruppman will perform a piece commissioned for Gruppman and his wife, Vesna.
Igor and Vesna Gruppman will solo in "Double Concerto for Violin and Viola," which was written by Dutch composer Paul van Brugge. Igor will be on the violin and Vesna on the viola.
"(It is a) brand new composition, just finished. That will be the world premiere at the concert," Igor Gruppman said. "It has been written especially for us. It was inspired by the way we perform."
Composer van Brugge will fly in for the premiere of his piece.
"The piece is very modern in the musical language, very demanding," Gruppman said. "What we hope is to reach the audience. It is not a very easy piece to comprehend. We're looking forward to make it exciting and understandable."
The event as a whole will focus on themes of romance that transcend different times and places. Following the concerto of intertwined string violins, the performance will continue with romantic pieces by Tchaikovsky and Leonard Bernstein.
Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy," joined by "Symphony Dances" from "West Side Story" by Bernstein, were not only chosen by Gruppman for their romantic significance but also as a personal testament to his heritage.
"Another element I thought would be important is I wanted very much to bring my own heritage into the program," Gruppman said. "For me being a Russian-American it is very significant for me to have Tchaikovsky alongside Bernstein."
It is Gruppman's personal touch on the nights that may lead to the success of the performances.
"The more meaning you can bring to every concert, the more connection to the audience," he said.
Tabernacle doors will open at 6:30 p.m. the evening of the concert. Tickets are required, but the concerts are free to the public. Tickets are limited to those 8 years of age and older.
Tickets are now available at www.lds.org/events or by calling 801-570-0080 or toll-free 1-866-537-8457.