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Cosmic concert

Orchestra to present Holst's 'Planets'

A reverence for the vastness of the universe inspired Gustav Holst to compose his suite "The Planets," and the Orchestra at Temple Square will present this monumental symphony for its fall concert Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Eugene Ugorski, an acclaimed 12-year-old violinist, tutored and nurtured by the orchestra's concertmistress, Vesna Gruppman, and her husband, Igor, concertmaster, will join the orchestra in performing Heryk Wienawski's Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor.

Free tickets for the concert have all been distributed. However, Church spokesman Michael Von Rosen said, "Standbys are highly encouraged," adding that never in the past have people been turned away from any of the orchestra's concerts.

The seven-movement suite was one of the most popular British compositions of the 20th Century. The first movement, "Mars, the Bringer of War," is followed by "Venus, the Bringer of Peace," "Mercury, the Winged Messenger," "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity," "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age," "Uranus, the Magician" and "Neptune, the Mystic."

The planet Pluto is left out of the lineup because it had not yet been discovered when Holst composed the work from 1914-1916.

"The rich variety of musical themes, textures, and tempos in Holst's masterpiece make 'The Planets' a joy for the Orchestra to perform as well as a sumptuous feast of sound for the audience," music director Barlow Bradford said.

The young violin soloist who will perform with the orchestra was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and made his professional debut at age 9 with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. He is the youngest violinist ever to win the American String Teachers Association state competition in California.

The Gruppmans, who also hail from the former Soviet Union, took him under their wing when he was 5.

"We got to know the family in California," said Brother Gruppman. "They were a Russian-Jewish family that worked in Tijuana, Mexico, on contract as musicians."

The family was working under a hardship, afraid they might be deported back to Russia. "We saw this adorable kid and got to know the parents and wanted to help him," Brother Gruppman said. " So we got them out of Mexico and brought them to San Diego to our home and helped them get their legal papers. They moved into our basement."

Sister Gruppman, now a professor of music at BYU, said, "The boy is very talented. He played the piano. . . . Being a teacher for 20 years, I have this instinct about my students. This inner voice told me, well, no, he will be a violinist. So I started teaching him at age 6. Since they lived in our house I would teach him every day."

After about 18 months, the Gruppmans moved to Provo, Utah. Eugene was so far along, that the parents decided to fly to Provo twice a month, where they would record Sister Gruppman's violin lessons on videotape so he could still have the benefit of her instruction.

"I think it is significant," Brother Gruppman said, when parents make such sacrifice for their children and when they recognize a teacher they want to take note from."

Tabernacle doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the 90-minute concert.

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