Page 10 - A short history of the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra
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Neuen, continued this practice even more. Among the soloists performing with the ORSO were Professors Keith McClellan (Bassoon), Gary Sperl (Clarinet), David Northington (Piano), Peter Horodysky (Violin), Mary Fraley (Cello), and vocalists George Bitzes and Delores Ziegler (Metropolitan Auditions winner). Additional well-known local soloists were Edgar Meyer (Bassist) and Ralph Einstein (Pianist). In fact, the largest attendance for a "classical" concert in Oak Ridge (approximately 1150 people) was held in January 1981 for an all-Beethoven concert featuring Ralph Einstein as soloist in the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto. Roberta Silverman Limor returned from Nashville to perform as a professional cellist along with her parents in the ORSO. During the intermission, she breast-fed her fourth son, Yonatan Limor.
Lyall challenged the orchestra to perform larger and more difficult works such as Shostakovich symphonies, all nine of the Beethoven symphonies, Carmina Burana, the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, and works by Prokofiev, Moussorgsky, Stravinsky, Mahler and Vaughn-Williams.
Lyall, whose father had been a choral conductor, was equally adept at doing large choral and operatic works. In fact, Lyall's performance of the Verdi Requiem by ORSO and the Oak Ridge Chorus led to his selection as director of the Knoxville Opera by Ed Zambara in 1982. His tenure there lasted until his appointment as Director of New Orleans Opera in 2000. Lyall's diverse abilities were demonstrated by three Pops concert performances by the ORSO during the 1982 World's Fair and an all Gershwin concert performed in Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Athens, TN in 1984 (featuring Leon Bates, pianist, as soloist in the Concerto in F), as well as a performance with the Ellis Marsalis Trio in 1990. Three
operatic works, in concert form, were performed by the ORSO under Lyall's direction— Carmen, Madame Butterfly, and Turandot. He also led a fully-staged performance of Hansel and Gretel.

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