Carl Herko
Vice President, Media & Public Relations

February 8, 2008



(PORTLAND, Ore.) — One of music’s most puzzling masterworks – the Symphony No. 5 of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich – gets a close-up look at the third concert of the season in the Oregon Symphony’s innovative and popular “Inside the Score” series.

Resident conductor Gregory Vajda leads the program, which begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 2, in downtown Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

“Inside the Score” concerts feature short musical programs – about an hour and a half in length, with no intermission – aimed at giving audience members a unique insight into the music. They are among the most popular events on the Oregon Symphony’s season-long calendar and an ideal way to introduce both children and new concertgoers to the world of orchestral music. Vajda will first discuss the work, setting it in context and illustrating his points with musical examples from the orchestra. The Oregon Symphony will then perform the symphony in its entirety.

In fact, there may well be no composition in all of music more perfectly suited to the “Inside the Score” treatment than Shostakovich’s enigmatic Fifth Symphony. Written in 1937 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the revolution that brought the Communists to power, it arrived on the scene at the height of Stalin’s “Great Terror” and shortly after the Soviet regime had denounced Shostakovich’s provocative modern music. It is widely viewed as the work responsible for saving the composer’s career – and maybe even his life.

But Shostakovich was legendary for refusing to explain the meaning of his music, leading to years of speculation among fans and detractors alike about what he was trying to say in the fifth, the best-known and most frequently performed of all his 15 symphonies. That’s the precise question “Inside the Score” will explore.

Tickets are available for $15 to $75 at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, 923 SW Washington St., in downtown Portland. Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343 during the same hours, or online at any time from the orchestra’s web site,

Tickets are also available through or by calling (503) 790-ARTS. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available through the symphony’s group sales hotline, (503) 416-6380.

Inside the Score is sponsored by the Friends of the Oregon Symphony.

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