The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra closes its 2015-2016 season with a concert on Thursday, April 21, that features retiring WVU faculty member William Skidmore as cello soloist in a farewell performance.
As with the other concerts presented by WVU’s premiere ensembles, the concert will be free for WVU students. “It has been a thrill for those of us on stage to see so many WVU students in the hall for our concerts,” said Mitchell Arnold, WVU’s director of Orchestral Activities and an Associate Professor in the School of Music. “The music we perform on this concert is our heartfelt gift to all our audience.”
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre under the baton of Maestro Arnold.
“We celebrate our great colleague and cello artist, Bill Skidmore, as he joins us to perform Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Andante Cantabile for cello and strings,” said Arnold. “That Bill is retiring next month only adds to the extent that this music touches our hearts.”
Skidmore will be retiring at the end of this academic year after 38 years at WVU. His career began when he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in the fall of 1964 as its first full-time cello teacher and youngest member of its faculty. After the University of Maryland, he joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and performed with it for four seasons. During that time he was active in the Baltimore Symphony String Quartet with Isidor Saslav, Bill Martin, and Thomas Dumm, and he continued to appear as soloist, teacher and clinician. He came to WVU in the fall of 1977, and during his time there, he has appeared with the student orchestra several times performing concertos by Beethoven (“Triple Concerto”), Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky (“Variations on a Theme Rococo), and Faure’s “Elegy”.
The concert opens with Giacomo Puccini’s emotionally gripping Intermezzo from his first popularly successful opera, Manon Lescaut.
On the Shores of Qingdao, is an evocative picture of scenes on the Chinese shore city of Qingdao by Matthew Jackfert. “We at WVU are proud to call Matt an alum of the School of Music,” said Arnold. “His piece is a wonderfully crafted tone-painting that captures the essence of shore, waves, wind and street performers in the seaside city of Qingdao, China.”
Jackfert, a native of Charleston, W.Va., completed his undergraduate Composition degree at WVU, studying under John Beall and David Taddie. He also finished a Master’s in Composition at University of Texas in Austin while also serving as director of the extracurricular choir, Collegium Musicum. He currently works as a composer and radio host with West Virginia Public Broadcasting in addition to his freelance work.
The concert closes with stunning music excerpted from Sergey Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet. “Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet sits alongside the great works of the 20th century, and ranks among the greatest of theatrical scores of all time, in my humble opinion,” stated Arnold. “His music captures in sound emotions of love, passion, hatred, devastation and joy with immediate and powerful effect.”
For concert tickets and information, call the WVU Box Office at 304.293.SHOW. WVU students are admitted free by presenting IDs to any usher.
CONTACT: David Welsh, WVU College of Creative Arts
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.