The West Virginia University Wind Symphony, under the direction of Don Wilcox, will present a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Monday, Feb. 25. The 7:30 p.m. performance will be in the Terrace Theater.
“I am thrilled that our students will have this opportunity to perform in such an outstanding venue,”said Dean Bernie Schultz of the College of Creative Arts.”It will be a wonderful educational experience for them and it will be a grand evening for WVU in our nations capital.”
One of seven university bands, the WVU Wind Symphony is made up of the finest wind and percussion performers in the College. The concert is part of the Centennial Celebration of the WVU Bands during 2001-2002, and is the highlight of a three-day concert tour of Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. It also coincides with WVU President David C. Hardestys annual State of the University Address in Washington on Feb. 27.
The Symphonys concert tour begins with a local performance at the WVU Mountainlair Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The group then travels to Herndon High School in suburban Virginia to perform a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 24). The next day the ensemble will travel to Washington for a rehearsal at the Kennedy Center prior to the 7:30 p.m. curtain. The day following the performance, students will spend time with the U.S. Air Force Band in master classes and full rehearsals.
Guest conductor for the Kennedy Center performance will be Col. Lowell E. Graham, who is known and respected worldwide for his musicianship and leadership as commander and conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band.
The WVU Wind Symphony, conducted for the past 31 years by Don Wilcox, director of bands, has performed in more than 20 states and in Europe at national conferences of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the College Band Directors National Association and the Music Educators National Conference. The group previously performed at the Kennedy Center with guest conductor Col. John Bourgeois in 1988.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Professor Wilcox has conducted bands from one-room schools in rural Appalachia to several of the worlds major concert halls. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he serves on the board of directors of both the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the American Bandmasters Association. He has conducted bands in 46 states and in 16 foreign countries, as well as appearing as a lecturer or clinician at more than three dozen universities in America, Europe, Japan and Thailand. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, and is currently president of the American Bandmasters Association.
Also conducting on the Kennedy Center performance will be John Hendricks, III , associate director of bands at WVU and assistant chairman of the WVU Division of Music in the College of Creative Arts. Hendricks also directs the 350-member WVU Mountaineer Marching Band, is assistant conductor of the Wind Symphony, conductor of the Concert Band and
supervisor of the Basketball Pep Band. Prior to his appointment at WVU , he served as Assistant Director of Bands at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Besides teaching, Hendricks has been actively involved serving as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout the northeast.
The Kennedy Center concert is entitled” Music for Winds with Piano” and features two works for solo piano with wind accompaniment, and others with piano used as a member of the ensemble.
Piano soloists will be WVU Professor of Music James Miltenberger, a performer with world-wide credentials, and Pei Sien Lim, a brilliant young pianist from Malaysia who is currently studying for a doctorate in music at WVU .
The first half of the program will feature Pei Sien Lim in” Oiseaux Exotiques” by Olivier Messiaen, and the Wind Symphony performance of the concerto for winds and percussion Cantus Laetus (“Joyful Noise”) by David Gillingham.
Following intermission, the Wind Symphony will perform” When I Close My Eyes I See Dancers” by Timothy Mahr, and” Gumsuckers March” by Percy Grainger, an arrangement by Mark Rogers.
The program will conclude with” Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, arranged by Thomas Verrier, and featuring Dr. Miltenberger as piano soloist.
Miltenberger is professor of piano, piano repertoire and jazz piano. He received a doctorate and masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelors degree from Miami University of Ohio. He has performed extensively as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His solo performances with various orchestras include performances at Carnegie Hall and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He is the founder of the Miltenberger Jazz Quartet.
Pei Sien Lim, a native of Kelantan, Malaysia, is pursuing her doctorate at the WVU College of Creative Arts, where she also received her bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance. She was named Outstanding Graduate of 1998 in the WVU Division of Music and has twice won both the West Virginia Music Teachers Association Collegiate Artist Competition and the WVU Young Artists Competition. Last summer she served as a staff accompanist at the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria.
Tickets for the two-hour performance are $20 per person. They will be on sale at the Kennedy Center after Feb. 1. For ticket information, call 800-444-1324 or 202- 467-4600. Tickets may also be ordered online at http://www.kennedy-center.org/tickets/ .
For more information about the Wind Symphony Tour, contact the WVU Band Office at the Creative Arts Center, 304-293-4841, Ext. 3154.