West Virginia Symphony

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra brought sounds "From the New World" to Morgantown on Friday as part of the newly established Morgantown Series.

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, established in 1939, has enriched the region through live orchestral music.  Since its foundation, the WVSO has served as a source of entertainment and educational learning opportunity primarily in the Parkersburg, Charleston, Fairmont and Beckley areas, among other locations in the state. 

Recently, the WVSO has expanded its services to the Morgantown area by offering quality educational and entertainment programs for the region’s schoolchildren and collaborating with the Morgantown’s Children’s Chorus during the Home for the Holidays program.

"With new offices, new concerts and new faces, the WVSO is on the move to bring our patrons the best in live symphonic music this season and for many more years to come,"  said WVSO President Joe Tacket.

The WVSO, under the conduction of Maestro Grant Cooper, performed its first concert of the three-concert series with "From the New World."  The concert took place in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre located in the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts.

"The concert turnout exceeded our expectations since it was our first concert of a new series," said WVSO Marketing and Guest Manager Shiva Shafii, "We were incredibly happy with the number of students in the audience and are looking forward to continuing enhancing student life at WVU."

"From the New World" featured pieces Capriccio Concertante composed by living-composer Byron Adams, Piano Concerto in G Major composed by Maurice Ravel, Rhapsody in Blue composed by George Gershwin and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9.

American pianist William Wolfram appeared as a special guest throughout the show.  Wolfram, a gradate of The Juilliard School in New York City, was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions and a bronze medalist at the distinguished Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. 

Wolfram is well known internationally for his work on the keys and has appeared with some of the most prestigious orchestras around the world. 

"The overall theme of the concert program was American inspired and influenced music," Shafii said.

While most of the music was written in America, European influences are strongly noted in the works, affecting the sound and the direction of the overall theme. 

"Our favorite part of traveling to Morgantown was seeing all of the student interest.  They seemed to really enjoy the program and the WVSO has a strong commitment to enrichment of life through music so seeing young people be so pleasantly surprised by how relatable and accessible classical music can be was one of our favorite take aways from the series premiere," Shafii said. 

The WVSO will make its way back to Charleston for its "Home for the Holidays" concert on Dec. 4 at the Creative Arts Center.  For more information about the program, visit wvsymphony.org.