A new partnership between the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is producing many benefits for WVU students and the greater Morgantown area.

During 2006-07, the partnership will bring a new series of concerts with world-acclaimed conductors to the Creative Arts Center.

The Torray Symphony Series, sponsored by generous University supporters Robert and Nancy Torray, will feature three performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony:

  • Marvins Fabulous50s.On Oct. 17, Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony will return to the CAC s Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre to kick off the series. The 21st Century Platters will join Hamlisch and the symphony for an evening of doo-wop and classic rhythm and blues.
  • New World Symphony.Sir Andrew Davis, artistic adviser for the Pittsburgh Symphony, will conduct the second concert on Dec. 8. Davis will lead Dvorks popularNew World Symphonyand Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Andrs Crdenes and Principal Viola Randolph Kelly will perform concertos by Bruch and Bach.
  • Bronfman Plays Beethoven.The final concert in the series will be Feb. 17, 2007, when Toronto Symphony Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a program featuring the melodicRainbow Bodyby Pittsburgh Symphony composer of the year Christopher Theofanidis, Mahlers epic Symphony No. 1 and piano soloist Yefim Bronfman performing Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 1.

We hope the public will take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience world-class concerts delivered by eminent musicians and representing a diverse repertoire, from the pops to Bach,said Dean Bernie Schultz of the College of Creative Arts.

As part of the partnership agreement, Schultz said, WVU students also attend Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concerts in Pittsburgh and participate in backstage tours of Heinz Hall. At least once each semester, a Pittsburgh Symphony musician presents a master class at the CAC that also includes a musical performance.

WVU music alumnus Robert Hamrick, a trombonist with the Pittsburgh Symphony for more than 25 years, helped establish the partnership with the symphony, and in 2003 he was the first musician to present a master class as part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Visiting Musician Series,Schultz said.

In addition to Hamrick, other Pittsburgh Symphony musicians who have presented master classes and recitals include Randolph Kelly and Paul Silver, both viola; David Premo, cello; John Soroka, percussion; Nancy Goeres, bassoon; and Michael Rusinek, clarinet.

Since the master classes and performances are free and open to the public, they not only benefit WVU students, but also serve as unique community events for fans of classical music in the Morgantown area,Schultz said.

Also as part of the partnership, Pittsburgh Symphony pops conductor and world-renowned composer Hamlisch visited WVU in April 2003, where he presented the annual Dan and Betsy Brown Lecture. His lecture and musical performance wasMy Life in Music,and the visit also included a master class for WVU students and the general public.

In October 2005, Hamlisch returned to the CAC with the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops to perform a program of Broadway music featuring Broadway stars Doug La Brecque and Rebecca Luker as special guests.

Hamlisch also spoke to students during that visit and continues to work with WVU music students, particularly those interested in performing on Broadway, to help them enhance their audition skills, Schultz said.

We are proud of the relationship our college has established with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, whose dedication to providing access to world-acclaimed artists and conductors makes this partnership and the new concert series unique for us,he added.

Additional support for the Torray Symphony Series is provided by William and Loulie Canady in memory of their daughter Valerie Canady, a Morgantown native and WVU graduate who died in the crash of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

More information about the Torray Symphony Series is available by calling the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at 800-743-8560 or visiting the symphonys Web site atwww.pittsburghsymphony.org.