“The Azalea Suite was commissioned by the North Carolina Azalea Festival and was originally slated to be presented March 29 of 2020, but then came COVID and the program was postponed,” writes Cheril Lee in Monday’s (5/2) WHQR Public Media (Wilmington, NC). “Now, more than two years later, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra will finally premiere conductor Steven Errante’s Azalea Suite. The concert takes place this Saturday. With this work, Errante says he tried to focus on the flowers themselves. He did this by finding pictures of several different kinds of Azaleas, representing a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. He sat with these photos as he composed the work…. Errante explains he created character pieces inspired by what he saw visually in the Azaleas. Each of the movements focuses on a different type of Azalea, including the bright orange Flame Azalea and the purple Formosa Azalea. ‘And a lot of people are familiar with that because it’s kind of a showy, domestic bloom. And I decided for me, that’s joyful. So I wrote a happy piece that I hope projects joy.’ Pieces by Debussy and Boulanger will be on the program as well as Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture.”