MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble will present its annual President’s Concert on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lovett Auditorium on campus. The concert is free and everyone is invited to attend.
The second performance by the accomplished ensemble this school year, Dennis L. Johnson, MSU director of bands and orchestra and conductor of the wind ensemble, noted that the concert program is extremely demanding yet varied. “We have really hit the ground running this semester with television filming and combined appearances, but now it is our chance to shine. I believe the audience will truly enjoy the variety of works we have scheduled.”
The President’s Concert has come to symbolize a salute to the students, staff, faculty and administration of Murray State University as the new school year unfolds, he said. “It’s basically a musical tribute to all the various agencies of the university who do such great work day in and day out,” said Johnson. “The wind ensemble and I are extremely proud to be a part of this great tradition”.
Opening the concert will be the Celebration Fanfare written by Kevin Walczk. The work was originally commissioned by the Oregon Symphony to commemorate two separate events, the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Oregon Symphony’s new music director. The fanfare is designed to elicit a bold, declamatory style with a determined energy — representative of the men and their respective journeys. The work builds to a very impressive ending.
Flutist and senior music performance major Marshall Shank from Owensboro, Ky., is featured next with the first movement of the Mike Mower Flute Concerto. “The concept of Mower’s writing — and what is so evident in this piece — is his desire to bridge the gap between classical and jazz music,” noted Johnson. “The result is a work that is extremely challenging but tuneful and enjoyable to play.” This performance is in partial fulfillment of Shank’s music performance degree.
Next is the instrumental arrangement of the dramatic cantata, Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff. “This arrangement by John Krance incorporates the vocal parts into the instrumental texture which provides a stunning sound adventure,” Johnson said. The work was written in 1936 and embodies selections from a large body of secular poems of the 12th and 13th centuries. While some of the movements are of a morally uplifting nature, many are bawdy student songs celebrating such earthly delights as drinking, gambling, dancing and lovemaking. Originally conceived for the theatre with dancing and mime accompanying the music, the work is centered around the pertinent reminder that people’s lives are ever subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
The concert will conclude the concert with a new work by noted wind band composer Frank Ticheli titled, Angels in the Architecture. “This is a stunning composition which incorporates incredibly fascinating sounds by the percussion, an off-stage soprano (the angel) and impressive sonorities from the entire ensemble,” stated Johnson. The work was commissioned by Kingsway International and was premiered at the Sydney (Australia) Opera House in July 2008. It explores the dramatic conflict between the two extremes of human existence — one divine and the other evil. Senior Felicia Gammon from Hawesville, Ky., provides the vocal talent. “This is one of the most demanding yet rewarding works we have ever performed,” Johnson explained.
The Murray State Symphonic Wind Ensemble has gained a national and international reputation due to its many invitations to appear at prestigious venues throughout the world including Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; at national and international conferences, and on television events.
This year the ensemble will again appear in Holidays at Murray State, a KET production shown during the Christmas season across the country. A new patriotic special is set to be aired in July 2011.