Flint Symphony Orchestra

Ahead of Their Time: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue & Mahler 5

7:30 PM
Location:  Whiting Auditorium

Flint Symphony Orchestra

Enrique Diemecke, music director & conductor
Kristhyan Benitez, piano

George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 5 

Pianist Kristhyan Benitez will bring his unique brand of virtuosity, charisma and poetry to this 100th-anniversary celebration of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. From the unmistakable opening clarinet wail to the final dramatic crescendo, “Rhapsody” captures a distinct moment in our history—the Jazz Age of the 1920s—that made it controversial at its conception and now quintessential to the American canon. In striking similarity, Mahler’s 5th Symphony was not met with great acclaim when it premiered at the turn of the 20th century but has now reemerged in a pop-culture moment that celebrates it as a haunting and triumphant masterpiece.

Where have I heard this before?  
Gershwin’s jazz-age classic was apropos in the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, who raises a glass while the piece blares over the boom of fireworks.

Mahler’s 5th Symphony was the enigmatic soundtrack to the recent film, Tár (2022), starring Cate Blanchett and focusing on the complex relationship between power, fame and corruption.


Inside the Music • 6:30pm
Title: The Magnificence of Mahler
Guest Speaker: Gregg Powell, principal bassist (Flint Symphony Orchestra and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra), Flint Symphony Orchestra Personnel Administrator

Kristhyan Benitez, Piano

Grammy®-award winning pianist Kristhyan Benitez is exciting audiences worldwide with his vivid and passionate concerts, presenting both classical and Latin American repertoire with depth, passion and charisma. He is part of the new generation of Venezuelan musicians, earning international attention for their colorful, high-energy, rhythmically charged performances. Jose Antonio Abreu, founder and director of “El Sistema,” described Kristhyan as “one of the most important and brilliant leaders of the musical movement in Venezuela and the whole continent.”

Benitez is the recipient of the respected “International Master for Piano Artist” at the École Normale de Musique “Alfred Cortot” (Paris, France) and the prestigious Artist Diploma from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He received the highest civilian honor given by the President of Venezuela, the “Jose Felix Ribas Award,” given for his cultural contributions and the enhancement of his country abroad.

Kristhyan Benitez is a Steinway Artist.

Title Sponsors
Dr. Cathy Blight & Edward Davison

Principal Sponsors
Jay & Marilyn Nelson

Preferred Steinway Performance Sponsors
Dr. Brenda Fortunate in Memory of C. Edward White

ASL Sponsor  

Age recommendation: No one under 5 admitted (including babes in arms)

Runtime: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes
Including intermission

Sensory warning: Full band and loud volume.

Genesee County residents receive 30% off – discount applied at checkout. 

Tickets start at $18 (plus fees)

  • Age Recommendations

    – No one under 5 admitted (including babes in arms).
    – All patrons regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the venue.
    – Regardless of age, disruptive patrons will be asked to leave.

  • Photography

    No photography or videography is allowed during this performance.

  • Walkers & Wheelchairs

    Due to (firecode), wheelchairs and walkers are only allowed in the accessible seating area and cannot be parked in the aisles.

  • Accessible seating

    Accessible seating is available and tickets must be purchased by phone or in person at FIM Ticket Center. Please inform the Patron Services Representative of any special needs you or your guests may have while purchasing tickets. Accessible seating is available for the patron and one companion.

  • All Policies

    To view all FIM Ticket Center & venue policies, click here

  • Security

    FIM has implemented new security policies and protocols. To view all of our security measures, click here.

  • No re-entry

    No Re-entry. Once your ticket has been scanned, please plan to stay and enjoy the entire performance. Patrons will not be allowed to re-enter.

  • Smoke/vape free zone

    Smoke-Free Zones. All FIM venues are smoke-free. Per Michigan Law, Public Act 188, smoking is not allowed inside a venue or within 20 feet from the entrance to the building. Violators will be asked to leave. Vape-Free Zones. Vaping is not allowed anywhere within the venue. Violators will be asked to leave.

  • Weapon free zone

    Weapon-Free Zones. Firearms and weapons of any kind, including concealed weapons and pocket knives are prohibited.

  • Assistive Listening Devices

    Assistive listening devices are available at no charge. These devices are available from the FIM Whiting Auditorium lobby desk. A driver’s license, state-issued ID card or another form of security deposit is required.

  • Familiarization Tours

    Familiarization tours are offered to all patrons. Take a tour of the seating area and facilities before purchasing tickets. Guided tours for the visually impaired are available by appointment. Contact FIM Ticket Center to schedule your tour.

  • Disruptive Patrons

    Disruptive patrons, regardless of age, will be asked to leave. No refunds will be given.

  • Program Content

    Program Content Please note some performances may contain adult themes. Please check the event listing age recommendations prior to purchase or call FIM Ticket Center.

  • Childern & Families

    All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the venue. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. For safety reasons, strollers and car seats are not allowed in the theatre. Regardless of age, disruptive patrons will be asked to leave. No refunds will be given.

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