Maestro Harvey Felder, the new conductor of the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, will present his first concert with the group Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Creative Arts Center.
Felder was formerly music director of the Tacoma ( Wash.). He succeeds Lawrence Christianson, who conducted the WVU Symphony Orchestra from 1987 until his death in March 2004.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre. The program will includeOverture to La Forza del Destinoby Giuseppe Verdi andSymphony No. 8, Op. 88, in G Majorby Antonn Dvork.
Soprano Rebecca Turner, a new music faculty member in voice, will join the Symphony Orchestra for VerdisEcco lorrido campo,fromUn Ballo in Maschera,and also forWie nahte mir der Schlummer,fromDer Freischtzby Carl Maria von Weber.
Described by The Milwaukee Sentinel asa thoughtful and sincere musician, with a stylish, poised podium presence,Felder received his bachelors degree in music from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his masters degree from the University of Michigan. He continued his studies with Gennady Rozdestvensky, Elizabeth Green, David Zinman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Max Rudolf and Zdenek Macal.
His tenure at the Tacoma Symphony was marked by a quadrupling of the budget, an expansion of the season from five to 19 performances and a tripling of concert attendance. Equally at home with repertoire ranging from Bach and Mahler to Gershwin and Ellington, Felder leads the Tacoma Symphony in a season of subscription, family, education, outreach and pops concerts.
Also active as a guest conductor, he made his Carnegie Hall debut during the 1991Carnegie Hall at 100celebration, leading the American Symphony Orchestra in a series of young peoples concerts. These appearances launched a guest conducting career, which has included engagements with the National, Omaha, Baltimore, Seattle, American, Delaware, Honolulu, New Jersey, Baton Rouge, Santa Fe, North Carolina, Indianapolis, Madison, Missouri and Grant Park symphony orchestras, as well as the Kansas City, Rochester, Dayton, Orange County and Boulder philharmonics, the Concord Chamber Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra.
Felder conducted the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in outreach, education and family concerts, as well as a holiday concert that was nationally televised on PBS . With the Chicago Symphony, he has led family and education concerts, as well as a nationally televised concerto competition concert on PBS .
Outside of the United States, he has appeared with the Osaka Telemann Chamber Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica del Esatados de Mexico, the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica and the New Japan Philharmonic. He has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Sarah Chang, Jeffrey Siegel, Jennifer Koh, Claude Frank, Pamela Frank, Ida Kavafian, José Feghali, Nathaniel Rosen, Leon Bates and pops artists Doc Severinson, Maureen McGovern, the Dallas Brass and Marvin Hamlisch.
In prior positions, Felder was assistant conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony, artistic adviser to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony and music director of the Fox Valley Symphony.
Well known for his music education programs, he was appointed to an ad hoc commission jointly assembled by the Kennedy and Getty centers to develop recommendations for the inclusion of an arts curriculum in educational reform legislation. The commissions findings were used by the secretary of education in the planning of theEducate Americaprogram and the congressional actImproving Americas Schools.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Citation for Excellence from the Wisconsin State Assembly, a Distinguished Citizen Award from the Wisconsin Civic Music Association and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
An orchestra has existed at WVU since at least 1900. In the early years, most of the musicians were from the local community. In 1920, there was a newly organized University Philharmonic Orchestra, made up of 35 members. The first concerts were given at the 1,500-seat auditorium in Commencement Hall, on the site where the Mountainlair is now located.
In the 1930s, the community musicians still made up a large part of the orchestra, and it was called the University-Community Orchestra. By the time the Creative Arts Center was completed in 1968, the orchestra was known as the University Symphony.
Today the WVU Symphony Orchestra is recognized as one of the outstanding University orchestras on the East Coast. In addition to its many concerts, the orchestra accompanies oratorio, opera, ballet, and student-faculty and guest soloists. It has performed by invitation at many professional music conferences in the United States.
Conductors have included: Max Donner (1920-25); Frank Delli-gatti (1925-28); Kenneth Wood (1928-66); Donald Portnoy (1966-86); and Christianson (1987-2004).
Tickets for the WVU Symphony Orchestra concert are available by calling the WVU Box Office at (304) 293-SHOW.