The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra continues its 2011-12 season Thursday (Feb. 23) with a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s thrilling “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” and Bedrich Smetana’s widely loved “Vltava” (“The Moldau”).

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre of the Creative Arts Center.

“This symphony has both its moments of gleaming sunshine and dark turmoil,” said conductor Mitchell Arnold, director of Orchestral Studies at WVU.

“Dvorak pours out melodies with great ease and love of life. It is a symphony which speaks for the Czech spirit.”

Smetana’s “Vltava” (“The Moldau”) picturesquely captures both the great Czech river Vltava, and its symbol of nationhood to the Czech people.

“The vigorous undulation of the river’s currents, a forest hunt, river nymphs in moonlight, rapids, and a great castle on a high rock as the river approaches Prague are unmistakably depicted in this vivid piece,” Arnold said. “This is music that has always spoken directly to audiences in the 130 or so years since its first performance!”

In addition, the program also features WVU viola professor Andrea Priester Houde, making her WVUSO debut in Max Bruch’s beautiful “Romance for Viola and Orchestra.”

Arnold received a doctorate in conducting from Northwestern University and has an extensive background in new music. Before coming to WVU, he was director of orchestras at Northern Illinois University and assistant director of orchestras at Northwestern University. He has also served on the faculties at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music.

Houde joined the School of Music this year as assistant professor of viola. She received a bachelor of music, summa cum laude, from the University of Memphis and also studied with Victoria Chiang at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she earned a master of music in viola performance/pedagogy and a graduate performance diploma. While at Peabody she received the Israel Dorman Award for excellence in string playing and two Career Development Grants.

An active performer, she is the violist of the West Virginia Piano Quartet, former Principal Viola of the Lancaster Symphony, and was a nine-year member of the Maryland Symphony. She is also a founding musician and Principal Viola of the Endless Mountain Music Festival in Wellsboro, Pa., where she has performed and taught in the summers since 2006.

Her versatility has led to such opportunities as performing tango with Astor Piazzolla’s god son, Marcelo Nisinman, and playing in a rock band on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. As a two-time Peabody-Singapore Fellow, she traveled to Singapore to mentor students at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and to perform with the Singapore Symphony.

For concert tickets and information, call the WVU Box Office at (304) 293-SHOW.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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