Friday evening’s state orchestra performance will bring nostalgia with a taste of jazz to Morgantown.
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform a three-concert series in Morgantown, debuting on Nov. 13. The concert titled "From The New World" will reflect on various influences of American culture through time, dating back to the late 19th century. The series will be held at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.
The concert series is free for WVU students and faculty, and West Virginians can receive $10 off their $27.00 ticket price by showing a valid driver’s license. WVU students and faculty must redeem their free tickets at the WVU Arts and Entertainment Box Office. A public lecture series with Maestro Grant Cooper and a guest scholar for each concert will be provided free to students and faculty.
The WVSO is looking to stretch its statewide influence into new parts of the state, which led to finding a new home in Morgantown for the 2015-2016 season. The engagement of the symphony orchestra with the students of WVU and the Morgantown community will enhance not only the students, but also the community as a whole. The performance is a collaboration between the WVU College of Creative Arts, the WVU School of Music and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Although this is an exciting occurrence, this is not the first time the WVSO has made an appearance at WVU. Dean of the College of Creative Arts, Paul Kreider, explained the college has hosted the WVSO for children’s concerts for the last three years. The symphony orchestra has employed faculty and graduate students to perform with them throughout past seasons.
The concert will begin with "Capriccio Concertante" by the living American composer, Byron Adams. Distinguished guest pianist William Wolfram will follow with performances of Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue" and Ravel’s "Piano Concerto." The concert will come to a close with the orchestra playing Dvorak’s "Symphony No. 9," otherwise known as "From the New World."
The symphony’s conductor, Maestro Cooper, will retire at the end of this season after serving 15 years as the Artistic Director. The symphony played "Capricio Concertante" during Cooper’s first season and will be encoring the music as a way of saying "thank you" to the audience’s continuous support throughout the years. Dean Kreider said the WVSO is currently in a two-year search for a new music director.
"This is Maestro Grant Cooper’s last season conducting the Classical Series concerts for the WVSO. He will retire from the podium in 2017," Kreider said. "I urge everyone to come and see Maestro Cooper this season."
The guest pianist, Wolfram, is humbled to perform with the WVSO and work with Maestro Cooper before his retirement. He has not yet performed the symphony, with Friday being a first.
"I know Cooper’s work from various sources, and I know him personally. I look forward to seeing the skill he will bring to the table," Wolfram said. "I understand he is retiring. I am happy I get a chance to play with the symphony before he retires."
Wolfram is an American pianist with an immense amount of experience. He has appeared with many of the greatest orchestras of the world and has placed in international piano competitions. He has gained a reputation of a well-distinguished concerto soloist whom is equally as skilled as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician. Wolfram believes the pieces he will perform reveal beauty and intimacy with a taste of rhythmic excitement and jazz.
"As a performer, you hope to present a narrative as if you are an actor and speaking role through music," Wolfram said. "You are telling a story the composer lays out for you. You hope to convey in provocative terms the story the music is telling."
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 13 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre. For more information, visit http://www.wvsymphonyorg/.