The NAU Symphony Orchestra starts off its season with its first concert in the Masterworks series, The Fifth of Beethoven, at 3 p.m. Sept. 24 in Ardrey Auditorium. The performance is free and no tickets are required.

The performance will feature mezzo-soprano Judith Cloud, an NAU professor of voice, as well as some of the best-known classical masterpieces, including Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture, Mahler’s Songs of the Wayfarer, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

“Beethoven’s Fifth is one of the most electrifying pieces in the classical repertoire and Rossini’s Barber of Seville was immortalized by Bugs Bunny cartoons,” said Darko Butorac, NAU Symphony Orchestra conductor. “As a contrast, the concert offers the haunting Mahler songs performed by Dr. Cloud.”

Butorac said the orchestra is playing “remarkably well” and is excited about the collection. “Our mission is to introduce the best classical music to new listeners and especially students of all ages,” he added.

The Masterworks Series will present five classical concerts throughout the school year, featuring first-class guest artists such as Cloud and Steven Moeckel, violinist and concertmaster for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

For more information, contact Darko Butorac at (928) 523-2340 or visit www.orchestra.nau.edu.