Reading Symphony Orchestra presents “Picture This!”

Russian Pianist Ilya Yakushev
Russian Pianist Ilya Yakushev photo by serge o

The Reading Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Andrew Constantine, concludes its 105th season with “Picture This!” on Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center. Local artist Michele Byrne will paint the orchestra in real time throughout the concert, and her work will be projected over the orchestra as it is in process.

The concert features Mussorgsky’s evocative Pictures at an Exhibition; Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev; and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, a collection of Italian dances and songs.

Graduating members of the Orchestra Zone program, which provides free instrumental music lessons to the students of the Reading School District (grades 6-9), will be recognized on-stage for their accomplishments during the concert.

Tickets for the May 5th concert can be purchased in-person at the Santander Center Box Office,through Ticketmaster, by calling the RSO office at 610-373-7557 or emailing


About the Artists:

Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev has appeared as piano soloist with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Boston Pops, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic, in addition to performing in various prestigious venues worldwide including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Victoria Hall in Singapore, and Sejong Performing Arts Center in Seoul, Korea. Winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition, Yakushev’s additional awards include First Prize at the Donostia Hiria International Piano Competition in San Sebastian, Spain; The Award for Excellence in Performance, presented to him by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation in Moscow; and the prestigious Gawon International Music Society’s Award in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Yakushev attended the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in his native St. Petersburg, Russia, and attended Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is a Yamaha artist.

Michele Byrne of Wyomissing is known for her plein air painting, which refers to painting outdoors or in the open air. She earned her BFA from Kutztown University, and worked in graphic design for 20 years while painting in her free time. She has been painting full-time since 2001, and her work is featured in galleries across the country. She has received many awards and recognitions, including having achieved Signature Membership status with the American Impressionist Society. Her art has been influenced by Sargent, Toulouse-Latrec, Berthe Morisot, C.W. Mundy, Carolyn Anderson, Richard Schmid, Dan McCaw, and others. Byrne has won numerous awards for her plein air and studio work including the Award of Excellence at the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters Invitational and 2nd Prize in the Urban Life Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

Andrew Constantine was appointed Music Director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in April 2007 following a two year search involving nearly three hundred conductors and was named Music Director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in in July 2009. Previously, Constantine served as Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for three years following an appointment by Yuri Temirkanov in 2004. Constantine works regularly with nearly all of the top British orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as having strong relationships with a number of European and Scandinavian orchestras including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In the United States, Constantine has developed a reputation for imaginative and compelling programming as well as a profound commitment to music education. In 2003, he was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Music by the University of Leicester for his “contribution to music” and was also awarded a highly prestigious British NESTA Fellowship.