Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody

Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff once declared, "I try to make my music speak simply and directly that which is in my heart." Hear the ravishing Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the brilliant Stephen Hough conducted by former ISO Music Director John Nelson. The haunting 18th variation is the romantic theme of the classic film “Somewhere in Time.”

Behind the Curtain 

with Associate Conductor Vince Lee

"In Rachmaninoff’s famous Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, he takes a musical theme by Paganini and builds the whole piece on that theme. Of course the most famous moment is the 18th variation– when you hear it you will instantly recognize it. It’s some of the most beautiful music ever written. That whole romantic theme that you hear is the full Paganini theme upside down. It’s one of the most brilliant devices ever used in the history of music. One of the most beloved themes was not an original melody, it was a melody that he turned upside down; an exact mirror image that created this gorgeous, soaring epic melody.

Ravel's Daphnes et Chloé is a piece particularly close to my heart. We just performed it two summers ago with Dance Kaleidoscope, it will be great to hear it in the Hilbert Circle Theatre."

About John Nelson

John Nelson, Music Director of the ISO from 1976–87, is recognized on the international scene as one of America's principal conductors. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York, where he received the Irving Berlin conducting prize.


About Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough is regarded as a renaissance man of his time. Over the course of his career he has distinguished himself as a true polymath, not only securing a reputation as a uniquely insightful concert pianist, but also as a writer and composer. Mr. Hough is commended for his mastery of the instrument along with an individual and inquisitive mind which has earned him a multitude of prestigious awards and a long-standing international following.


Plan Your Visit

This performance is at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis. Doors will open one hour before the performance. Before the concert, enjoy coffee and pastries courtesy of Marsh Supermarkets!

Learn more about parking, dining, hotels and more in our Plan Your Visit section.

Buy Tickets



Le Tombeau de Couperin


Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini


Daphnis et ChloƩ: Suite No. 2

John Nelson


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