Kirk Muspratt

Hello, Valentine’s friends!

Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up and I am hoping that if you are a guy, instead of buying your loved ones just diamonds, chocolates and champagne, you will decide on something novel this year and purchase tickets to our concert Friday night, Feb. 9 at Bethel Auditorium in Crown Point.

Guys ... this could be your wife, your mom, your daughter, your sweetheart, AND it would be such a lovely and unique gift.

For you ladies, this is a night of beauty, a night for a quality "date night" and it too could be for your hubby, your dad, your son or boyfriend, eh?

The concert is chock full of romance and beauty. You probably think that I will go right to the Rachmaninoff on the program, but actually I would like to first write about the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5. It may even be more ’Romantic’ with a capital R. The dictionary tells us that the word romantic can mean, “that is which is adventurous, impossible, idealized, mysterious, unimaginable."

So let us think about Beethoven writing this concerto in 1810. He is completely deaf and yet he is writing music for piano and orchestra. He is writing music for the piano that is completely wild and breaking all the rules. The slow movement of the concerto is something that you would play for someone that you love beyond reason. By this, I mean it could be that once-in-a-lifetime person on your wedding day, when things are truly the most heartfelt, the most serious, and the most sacred between two people. It could be music you would play at the most profound moments of your lifetime. This is music that speaks to all eternity and for the most deeply felt of human emotions.

Wael Farouk, our soloist from last season, was an artist who you requested I invite back.

Therefore, Wael will be our soloist for the concerto. If you want to find more information regarding Wael, please google him at; his story is fascinating.

Now, we can also talk of course about Rachy being romantic. (In the music business, we refer to Rachmaninoff as "Rachy,” not be confused with Sylvester Stallone dancing on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.)

There surely is no more delicious, heart-throbbing romantic music than the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2. This is a piece where you certainly want to be holding hands, squeezing hands with the person next to you. I love studying and conducting the piece. It is unabashed, thrilling, Valentine's music that one can imagine. It speaks to all of us in the most visceral way — pure goose-bumps.

If you want more Valentine’s options, on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, the symphony is hosting a gala dinner titled A Concert with Courses. We are going to have three groups of our musicians give mini concerts in between the courses of the dinner and I can tell you that we have chosen music that will be anything but boring. It is going to be a gas and a really lovely, fun evening. All the proceeds go to the orchestra, the youth orchestra, the chorus and our education programs, so perhaps you will purchase a ticket to help support these important causes.

Thanks, everyone! Please come and say hello after the concert, OK?

Opinions are solely those of the writer’s. Kirk Muspratt is the conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Muspratt’s column is an occasional feature during symphony season.