Husband-and-wife conductor and guest soloist play Modesto Symphony Valentine’s show

mrowland@modbee.comFebruary 6, 2014 

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    WHAT: Modesto Sympony Orchestra

    WHEN: 8 p.m. Feb. 14-15

    WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

    TICKETS: $15-$89

    CALL: (209) 338-2100

    ONLINE: www.galloarts.org

“We’ve talked about playing it many years but never done it. I wish we had before now, but I am so enjoying it so much now because it is a fabulous piece,” said Jenson, who has been married to Lockington since 1983. “It is a bigger piece than I thought it was. It’s really exciting to play and really gutsy. It is perfect for Valentine’s Day.”

The Brahms “Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor” will be one of four pieces in the Valentine’s program. The rest include Mozart’s “Symphony No. 36 in C Major, Linz,” Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” and Glinka’s “Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla.”

While Lockington joins his wife to perform in the Brahams concerto, Associate Conductor Ryan Murray will conduct the couple. Murray is also the Music Director of the Modesto Youth Symphony Orchestra, which will do a special side-by-side playing with members of the adult orchestra during the performance of the Glinka piece.

The Youth Orchestra will have its own Spring Concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Gallo Center, before the Symphony Orchestra’s show later that evening.

Jenson, who lives with Lockington in Michigan, performs with her husband once or twice a year. The accomplished violinist was a child prodigy who at age 17 won a silver medal in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which she calls the “Olympics of music.” At 20 she made her Carnegie Hall debut. She landed a recording contract and was one of the few featured female violinists at that time.

But then after meeting Lockington and deciding to get married, her recording and performing career stalled after the collector who owned her 1743 Guarnerius del Gesu violin demanded it back.

“I couldn’t magically snap my fingers and have a beautiful violin,” she said. “The violin is my wooden voice box. I had to wait 25 years later for another one. They were very long, tedious, difficult pressing years for me without a violin and able to continue my career.”

Instead, Jenson focused on the couple’s four children – now ages 13 to 29. She also taught for several years as a distinguished professor of music at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. She now teaches, gives master classes and performs occasionally.

“I love it every time I perform,” she said. “I feel I was put on this Earth in order to do that.”

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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