The Savannah Philharmonic will launch its celebratory Fifth Anniversary Season with the world premiere of John Buckley’s Violin Concerto on Saturday, September 21 at 7:30pm in the historic Lucas Theatre for the Arts. The evening will begin with Bernstein’s exhilarating Candide Overture, and the Buckley concerto will be followed by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, his most famous composition and a nod to the Philharmonic’s Fifth Season. Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to attend a free educational pre-concert talk presented by the Savannah Friends of Music at 6:30 pm. Supporting Sponsor for the opening night concert is Harkleroad Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, the official jewelers of the Savannah Philharmonic. Contributing Sponsors include The Wassaw Group, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Culture Ireland, and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. The Soloist Sponsor for this performance is United Community Bank.

“The Philharmonic begins the new season with a concert featuring Beethoven’s monumental 5th Symphony. It’s probably safe to say that it’s the most iconic and well-known pieces in the symphonic repertoire. Hearing it live is special,” says Peter Shannon, conductor and artistic director of the Savannah Philharmonic. “But personally, I’m most looking forward to performing John Buckley’s Violin Concerto. It’s a new work, and it has never been played before. Savannah will be its world premiere performance,” he continues. “There’s something very special about hearing a work for the very first time. A composer, in this case the Irish composer John Buckley, has worked for hundreds of hours in seclusion on this piece. The next step involves a full symphonic orchestra and soloist who translate those efforts into real music. The violin soloist for this performance is Gwendolyn Masin, which is also special because it was she who commissioned this work. It really is HER piece,” he enthuses. “Don’t expect rich melodies or traditional harmony, though. This is about as contemporary as it gets, but it’s a fabulous work. I’ve enjoyed learning it, and look forward to bringing this work to life for the first time right here in Savannah.”

“The first performance of a new composition is an exciting occasion for any composer,” states John Buckley, composer of the Violin Concerto to be performed the first time in Savannah. “I believe that the work doesn’t really come into full existence until it has been performed for an audience. While this concerto is newly conceived and composed, it draws on the extraordinary history of the violin concerto as a genre. The shadows and echoes of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvořák, Berg, Shostakovich, and Dutilleux hover in the background and sometimes float close to the surface. I have attempted to juxtapose explosive dramatic qualities and lyrical grace, but above all, I have sought to explore the wonderful expressive qualities of the violin, against a colourful web of orchestral sonority. I am greatly honoured that the premiere will be performed at The Lucas Theatre for the Arts in Savannah, with Gwendolyn Masin as soloist and Maestro Peter Shannon conducting the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra.”

The Philharmonic welcomes for the first time to Savannah violin soloist Gwendolyn Masin. Described as “a natural performer with an authority most violinists would envy” (The Irish Times), and “setting first-rate standards in concert performance with her technically superior, refined, intensive and richly contrasting expression” (Der Bund), she is the descendant of a long line of professional musicians from Central and Eastern Europe. At the age of five, she gave her debut performance in the Franz Liszt University in Budapest. Since then, she has performed extensively to critical acclaim throughout Europe, Russia and South Africa as a soloist with renowned orchestras and has been recorded for numerous broadcasts. Masin has been awarded degrees and prizes in South Africa, the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Gwendolyn Masin has collaborated with some of the most acute musical minds of our time both on stage and in the recording studio. She has premiered and recorded works by John Buckley, Raymond Deane, Thorsten Encke, Don Li, Urs Peter Schneider, Eric Sweeney and Martijn Voorvelt, amongst others. An inspired teacher, Masin gives violin and chamber music master classes at institutes and festivals throughout Europe and Northern America and also performs lecture recitals. She holds a PhD from Trinity College and is the author of the award-winning Michaela’s Music House: The Magic of the Violin.

Season subscription packages, as well as individual tickets for single concerts, are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the Savannah Box Office at (912) 525-5050.

The Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) is a professional orchestra presenting a full range of concerts each season (September to May) from classics to pops. The Savannah Philharmonic Chorus is a community-based auditioned ensemble that performs regularly with the orchestra in an oratorio and opera setting, as well as performing a wide range of music from a cappella, baroque to rock and pop standards. Both are 501©3 nonprofit organizations.

The SPO’s mission is to provide the highest level of musical performances and educational programs featuring the highest caliber of professional musicians, a volunteer chorus and internationally acclaimed soloists. The SPO aims to exhilarate, educate and enrich a large and diverse audience in the greater Savannah community. For more information please visit

If you would like more information about the Savannah Philharmonic, or to schedule an interview with Artistic Director Peter Shannon, please call Royceann Friedman at 912/655-5100 or email Royceann Friedman at: