Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky highlight ARCO Chamber Orchestra spring concert

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The ARCO Chamber Orchestra performs its spring concert in Hodgson Concert Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m.

The ensemble, founded in 1990 by the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s Franklin Professor of Violin and Regents Professor Levon Ambartsumian during his years as Professor of Violin at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, will perform works by Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

The concert is also something of a preview for what Brazilian audiences will see when ARCO travels to Brazil this May. 

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 opens the performance, beginning the concert with a masterwork of the Baroque era. However, this particular construction of the concerto will be specific to ARCO.

“In this concerto, the second movement is just two notes,” said Ambartsumian. “So, it is a common practice that musicians who perform this concerto play the slow movement from some other Bach work instead.”

In place of that second movement, ARCO will employ an adagio movement from one of Bach’s violin and harpsichord sonatas, arranged for chamber orchestra by a friend of Ambartsumian’s, Berlin-based composer Sergei Dreznin.

Following the concerto is Mozart’s Serenade No. 6, the first of two serenades on the program. The piece, one of eight numbered serenades written by Mozart, was composed in Salzburg in 1776, and its title, “Serenata notturna,” was created by the composer’s father, Leopold.

“This is a fun work,” said Ambartsumian. “It is an orchestral work with five soloists, including two violins, viola, bass and timpani. In the final movement, there are a few cadenzas, so our audience should expect some funny surprises.”

The final piece of the night is Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, one of the most popular works for string orchestra, according to Ambartsumian. Audience members may find the first movement to be similar to the prior piece, and this is by design—Tchaikovsky wrote the serenade’s first movement to imitate Mozart’s style.

Tickets to the concert are $20 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at or the PAC box office. Those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website:

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing or learn more about the School of Music, go to