Palm Beach Symphony, Ballet Palm Beach to perform free concert Sunday

Be prepared to say hello — loudly — if you attend Palm Beach Symphony’s and Ballet Palm Beach’s free concert Sunday at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach.

Soloist Amit Peled will be expecting to hear you. Peled, an Israeli-American cellist who was chosen by Pablo Casals’ widow to inherit his 1733 Goffriler cello, likes to begin his performances with a greeting. If the audience remains mum, he informs them it’s OK to reply.

“That breaks the ice,” he said. “That starts them thinking maybe this event can be entertaining. That’s what classical music is, entertainment. It’s high-level entertainment, but it’s entertainment.”

Planting that seed is what Harmony: An Exhibition of the Arts is about.

“It’s bringing art to the community and allowing the community to experience it for free,” said Teneka James, associate director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, which is covering the $50,000 cost.

The concert is presented by the West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District, which the authority created in 2014 to promote more than 20 cultural venues clustered in or near downtown.

More than 3,000 people attended Harmony’s debut last year, which also featured the symphony and Ballet Palm Beach.

Ramon Tebar, the symphony’s artistic and music director, chose the program with the audience in mind.

“I try to program known repertory, works that most of the audience can recognize,” he said. “Most of them are masterworks.”

Peled will play the first movement from Antonin Dvorak’s cello concerto and will accompany a ballerina for Camille Saint-Saens’ The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals.

“To be honest, I don’t know how it will be,” Peled said with a chuckle. “I might stand up and dance with her. We want the feeling of a festival rather than just another event.”

Peled has been in residence with the symphony since Monday. He’s probably the organization’s first artist in residence, symphony board president Dale McNulty said.

The cellist performed at the gala Monday at The Breakers. His schedule also includes outreach events Thursday and today at The Benjamin School and Palm Beach Day Academy.

The concert on Sunday will give Ballet Palm Beach’s professional troupe the rare opportunity to perform with a 62-piece orchestra. The company usually can’t afford live musical accompaniment.

The dancers also will perform to the waltz from Aram Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite and Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre.

The waltz, which features three couples, “is fun with a lot of lifts,” said Artistic Director Colleen Smith, who choreographed the piece.

The Danse Macabre isn’t exactly family entertainment. “It’s supposed to be death waking up bones,” Smith said. “I’m not going to play it that way. I decided to use the music for its own sake.”

The orchestra will round out the program with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, selections from Khachaturian’s Spartacus Suite No. 2, and Gayaneh and the Bacchanale from Saint-Saens’ Samson et Dalila.

Peled, who will jet to Israel next week to perform with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, hopes to have made some friends by Sunday.

“I hope that by the climax more people will come and get more enjoyment out of the concert because they feel that they know me personally,” he said.

If You Go-----

What: Harmony: An Exhibition of the Arts featuring cellist Amit Peled, Palm Beach Symphony and Ballet Palm Beach

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Meyer Amphitheatre, 105 Evernia St., West Palm Beach

For information: call 833-8878 or visit downtownwpbarts.com

Attendees are invited to bring blankets, chairs and picnic fare for seating on the grass. VIP tickets with valet parking, covered seating, champagne, wine and a buffet lunch will be available for $100 apiece through 5 p.m. today. For information, call 833-8873.

You can hear Peled perform the first movement from Antonin Dvorak’s cello concerto with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8dqDVhnO7M