USC Symphony opens season with pianist Misha Dichter

The University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra will launch its season Thursday, Sept. 19 with Misha Dichter, a giant presence in the piano world for nearly half a century. The concert takes place at the Koger Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m.

“As far as I know he’s never before performed in Columbia, and we’re very excited to have a guest artist who has led such an extraordinary musical life,” said Donald Portnoy, music director of the orchestra.

Dichter burst onto the world’s music scene in 1966, winning the silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition when he was just 20 and a student at the Juilliard School. He made his New York debut in 1968 with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic.

The pianist’s vast discography on the Philips, RCA, and MusicMasters labels ranges from George Frederic Handel to George Gershwin. A noted exponent of Franz Liszt’s piano works, Dichter was honored in 1998 with the Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt.

Since winning the silver at the Tchaikovsky half a century ago, he has had a nearly non-stop career as soloist with major orchestras around the world and as a chamber musician, often performing duo-piano works with his wife Cipa Dichter, and appearing regularly at the Ravinia, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart and Aspen festivals.

He will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43 with the orchestra.

Rachmaninoff composed The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43 during the summer of 1934 basing it on composer and violinist Niccolo Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, which Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and others had also tapped for variations.

It was the last work he wrote for piano and orchestra and is one of his best loved works.

For more information about the concert, visit the USC Symphony’s website. Individual tickets are $30 for the general public, $25 for USC faculty and staff and seniors, and $8 for students. For tickets, call (803) 251-2222 or visit

Via: USC Symphony Orchestra