The nationally acclaimed West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mitchell Arnold, will perform its final concert of the 2013-14 school year with a remarkable program that includes a new work by retiring WVU composer John Beall, as well as the WVU choirs and faculty soloists performing Schubert’s “Mass in G Major.”

The concert will be held Thursday, April 17, at 8:15 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the Creative Arts Center. For tickets and information, call 304-293-SHOW.

According to Arnold, who is director of Orchestral Studies at WVU, a new work, “Autumn Fire,” by Composer-in-Residence John Beall, was composed for the occasion of his retirement and will be performed at this concert.

Directing the WVU Choirs in Schubert’s work will be guest conductor and WVU Director of Choral Activities Jeffery Redding.

Another special performance will be a new violin concerto by Christopher Jones, a composition student of Beall’s and also a member of the orchestra’s cello section.

Also featured in the varied program will be Leo? Jan�ček’s “Sinfonietta,” as well as the quick, sparkling “Slavonic Dance” by Anton�n Dvoř�k.

“In ‘Sinfonietta,’ Jan�ček makes a deeply personal musical statement about nationality, liberty, and love,” Arnold said. “It is remarkable how Jan�ček’s musical characters swing from exuberant folk dance, to surpassing beauty, to humor, and even grotesquerie before reaching a blazingly triumphant ending.

“This ending will feature a brass fanfare played by nine trumpets, two bass trumpets, and two tenor tubas that join the orchestra at the close and are featured in the first part of the ‘Sinfonietta,’” he said. “We know that the fanfare heard at the beginning will come back at the end, and yet we all get chills when the music, at the most grotesquely chaotic moment, is ‘rescued’ by the returning fanfare. A more exhilarating ending to a piece, and a concert, is hard to imagine.”

This concert also serves to celebrate the tenure of John Beall, composer-in-residence at WVU, who will retire at the end of this school year.

“Performing his newest work ‘Autumn Fire,’ is a fitting tribute to John, his years of teaching, and his output of wonderful music,” Arnold said. “As a demonstration of his impact on WVU and the world of music, we are also including a new work by one of his current students, Christopher Jones, featuring student violinist Taylor Giorgio and student conductor Eleanor Aban.

“While saying ‘goodbye’ to Dr. Beall, the concert says ‘hello’ to one of the most recent additions to our faculty, Dr. Jeffery Redding, WVU’s director of Choral Activities since January 2013. Redding will be conducting a performance of Franz Schubert’s ‘Mass in G Major’ for chorus, soloists, and orchestra. Faculty members Mandy Spivak, soprano, Nicholas Perna, tenor, and William Koehler, bass, join the ensembles as soloists.

“The sheer beauty of this setting of the Latin mass is remarkable especially considering its brevity. The closing Agnus Dei section begins in darkness but ends in sweetly soothing calm.”

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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