The West Virginia University Wind Symphony, under the direction of Don Wilcox in one of hisfinal fourconcerts as director of bands at WVU , will perform at the Clay Center for the Arts&Sciences in Charleston on Sunday, April 10.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Clay Centers Maier Foundation Performance Hall and will feature James Miltenberger as piano soloist, as well as guest conductors Mark Hardman, a WVU music alumnus who is director of bands at George Washington High School in Charleston, and well-known composer David Williams, a WVU alumnus who currently resides in Dunbar.
Don Wilcox is one of the leading band directors in our country,said Dean Bernie Schultz of the College of Creative Arts.During his remarkable tenure with West Virginia University, his vision, dedication and hard work have significantly advanced the quality of our bands and the education of our students. Don makes all West Virginians proud every time and everywhere our bands perform, and I am pleased that the people of Charleston will have the opportunity to share in one of his final concerts with the Wind Symphony at the Clay Center.
We did the first of this series of final four concerts Tuesday, March 29, in Morgantown and the Clay Center concert will be the second,Wilcox said.The third will be in Keyser, on April 17, and the final concert will be in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the WVU Creative Arts Center on April 22.
After enjoying 34 years as the director of bands at WVU , and more than 300 concerts, it has been quite a ride, and I cannot imagine where the time has gone. I hope that friends will enjoy these last concerts and the terrific students in the WVU Wind Symphony.
Wilcox said the program will feature popular band music, as well as compositions by WVU alumni David Williams, who is a guest conductor, and Nancy Galbraith, a composer who currently lives in Pittsburgh.
As the premier concert group of the seven University bands, the WVU Wind Symphony is made up of the finest wind and percussion performers in the College of Creative Arts. It has performed in more than 20 states and in Europe, as well as for 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 performed at the Kennedy Center in 1988 and in 2002.
The Clay Center concert will open withFestive Overture,a work that is very popular with American bands. It was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1954 and is one of his best-known works. It was arranged by the composer for the Russian Military Band and Donald Hunsberger scored it again at a later date.
The Wind Symphony will follow this with the world premiere of the marchCalliope,by Williams, who is well known for his compositions for band. Williams earned degrees in music education, music history, and composition from WVU and played the tuba in the WVU Wind Symphony. He has completed more than 80 works, includingLost Tales/Imaginary Danceson commission from the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the opening of the Clay Center.Calliopewas composed for Wilcox in honor of his retirement from WVU .
Profanationfrom Jeremiah, Symphony No. 1 by Leonard Bernstein was premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1944, with Bernstein conducting. It is the scherzo second movement of the symphony and is dedicated to Bernsteins father. Associate Director of Bands John Hendricks will conduct this work.
Festival in Russiaby Anatoli Liadov is a transcription for concert band of Liadovs dazzling orchestral work, Polonaise, Op. 49. Written at the turn of the last century, its energetic dance rhythms and melodic expressiveness brings a delightful Old World charm to todays audiences. The first performance of this transcription was given by the WVU Wind Symphony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 24, 1988, with Wilcox conducting. Mark Hardman, a former student of Wilcoxs, will conduct this work for the Clay Center concert.
Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble is a work recently composed by Nancy Galbraith. It is a brilliant and technically demanding composition for the solo piano and will feature well-known WVU pianist James Miltenberger, performing a solo with the Wind Symphony. Dr. Miltenberger serves as instructor of piano, piano repertoire, and jazz piano at WVU . He received a masters degree and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and has performed extensively as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including solo appearances with various orchestras and performances at Carnegie Hall and with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Another popular work on the program isGandalf the Wizard,the first movement of Symphony No. 1, Lord of the Rings by Johan deMeij. The music portrays the wizards noble character, as well as a wild ride on his gray horse,Shadowfax.This work won the 1989 Sudler International Wind Band Composition Competition. Assistant Band Director Dearl J. Drury will conduct.
Fearless,is also by David Williams, who will conduct. This is a new work that was commissioned by several conductors and ensembles, including Mark Hardman.Fearlessis a ships name often used by the British Navy. Williams has dedicated this work to his daughter, Katie.
Apollo Unleashedis the finale of Symphony No. 2 by Frank Ticheli, who is well known for his works for concert band. He has been called one of the most interesting composers on the scene today and many of his compositions have become standards in the repertoire.Apollo Unleashedis uninhibited, high-flying and intensely rhythmic.
The finale of the concert will be Centennial WVU Medley, an arrangement by Wilcox to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the WVU Bands in 2001-2002. It includes the two fight songsHail, West VirginiaandFight Mountaineers,as well as the WVU Alma Mater and a few of the pre-game songs, such asCountry RoadsandMy Home Among the Hills.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Wilcox has conducted bands from one-room schools in rural Appalachia to several of the major concert halls in the world. 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 a past president of the American Bandmasters Association.
The WVU Wind Symphony concert for Charleston is graciously funded by The Daywood Foundation, the Clara and James R. Thomas II Endowed Travel Fund, WVU and the WVU College of Creative Arts.
Tickets for the performance are $10 for the general public and $7 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available now at the Clay Center for the Arts&Sciences or by calling the Clay Center Box Office at (304) 561-3570.