The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra begins its 36th season – with the theme “American Mosaic” – with a special performance, a Mozart Fest featuring world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head.

A gala will follow the performance at the Hilton Head Westin Resort and Spa.

A Grammy award-winning, Polish-born, naturalized American classical pianist, an internationally acclaimed performer, a teacher on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the main duo recital partner of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Ax is considered one of the finest concert pianists of the 21st century.

He will play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 and Haydn’s Armida Overture.

Since 1970, when Ax graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, he has participated in many major international competitions, including the Vianna da Motta in Portugal, the Queen Elisabeth in Belgium and the Chopin in Warsaw.

His 1974 win of the inaugural Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv sparked the beginning of Ax’s successful career as a concert pianist. He continues to perform about 80 concerts a year.

Tickets for the one-night performance and gala are $50, $90 and $100 and may be purchased at or by calling the box office at 843-842-2055.

The following Sunday, Sept. 24, from noon to 4 p.m., the League of the Symphony Orchestra will host its fifth annual Kitchens of Note tour in Moss Creek.

The self-driving tour will offer six designer kitchens, each hosting a chef from a local restaurant who will offer samples of his or her cuisine.

The restaurants include Marley’s Island Grille, The SandBar Beach Eats, Sea Grass Grille, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, Twisted European Bakery, and Hogs Head Kitchen & Wine Bar.

This event typically sells out. Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased on Hilton Head at Burke’s Pharmacy, Christie’s Hallmark and LeCookery; and in Bluffton at Markel’s Card and Gift and Christie’s Hallmark Bluffton. A reservation form is also available online at

Proceeds from the tour benefit the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and its youth programs.

Finally, due to the popularity of HHSO’s Symphony Under the Stars programs, a new fall event has been added Oct. 3 and 4 at Montage Palmetto Bluff.

“Symphonic Soul,” under the baton of Maestro John Morris Russell, will present the music of Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Motown, featuring the dynamic local band Deas Guyz. This inaugural event will offer table seating, concert and lawn seating.

Tickets range from $25 to $85. For more information and tickets, call the Symphony office at 843-842-2055 or visit