Orchestra at MC to perform music by contemporary composers Oct. 20

Oct. 10, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer
865.981.8209; chloe.kennedy@maryvillecollege.edu

The Orchestra at Maryville College will present its Fall Concert featuring the music of two Grammy Award-winning composers on Sun., Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.

Tickets for the Oct. 20 performance are $5 and can be purchased at the Clayton Center Box Office or by calling 865.981.8590. The performance is free to MC faculty, students and staff with ID, although a printed ticket is required for admission.

Orchestra Conductor Bill Robinson said the composers and soloists featured during the concert are familiar to many in the local community: Jennifer Higdon, Lydia Schoen, Lucas Richman, the late Victor Schoen, Jeffery Whaley and Mark Harrell.

The Orchestra will perform two pieces composed by former Blount County resident – and 1981 Heritage High School graduate – Jennifer Higdon, including blue cathedral, which is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works, and Soliloquy, featuring former Maryville resident and English horn soloist Lydia Schoen. Schoen is the daughter of longtime Maryville College educators Victor and Sallie Schoen.

Higdon, who will attend the performance, will share with the audience some of her experiences leading to the composition of the two pieces that will be performed.

One of the most performed American composers living today, Higdon’s list of commissioners includes the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, eighth blackbird, the Tokyo String Quartet, The President's Own Marine Band and Hilary Hahn.

In 2010, Higdon received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, as well as a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” for her Percussion Concerto. She has also received awards from the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters (two awards), the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP.

She holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pa.

“For a long time, I have wanted to do some of the music of Jennifer Higdon, a former Blount County resident whose music is now performed by professional orchestras literally around the world,” Robinson said. “One of our goals with the orchestra is to bring former Blount Countians back home to perform in our Clayton Center. Having Jennifer and Lydia with us is part of that homecoming.”

The Orchestra will perform Fantasy of Orchestra, a piece by Lucas Richman, music director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Before the performance, Richman will introduce the piece and provide background.

Richman, who has been with the KSO since 2003, has also served as conductor for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2010. He has appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the SWR Radio Orchestra of Kaiserslautern (Germany) and the Zagreb Philharmonic (Croatia).

In 2011, Richman received a Grammy Award for “Best Classical Crossover Album” for having conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Christopher Tin’s classical/world fusion album, Calling All Dawns.

He has also collaborated with numerous film composers as their conductor, recording scores for such films as the Academy Award-nominated The Village (with violinist Hilary Hahn), As Good As It Gets, Face/Off, Se7en, Breakdown, The Manchurian Candidate and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Most recently, John Williams personally invited Richman to serve as the conductor for the three-month national summer tour of Star Wars in Concert.

Orchestra to perform Mark Harrell’s The Stainless Banner

Also on the program is Mark Harrell’s The Stainless Banner, which is part of an opera Harrell is writing. During the concert, Harrell will share with the audience some of his thoughts on the piece.

Harrell, a seventh generation Anderson County native, lives in Knoxville and serves as the third hornist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. An adjunct horn professor at Carson-Newman University, he has also taught at East Tennessee State University and Maryville College. He also teaches instrumental music in the public schools of Sevier County.

As a composer, Harrell is primarily self-taught, learning the craft of structure and orchestration from study and practical experience as an active performer. Harrell’s works have been performed widely by a variety of artists. Recent commissions and performances have been given by ensembles such as: Appalachian Ballet, Brasswind Quintet, Carson-Newman University Symphonic Band, East Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, East Tennessee Youth Wind Ensemble, Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Mountain Empire Wind Ensemble, Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, Olympia Symphony Orchestra, Partes Choir of Obninsk (Russia), Slovak State Philharmonic of Kosice (Slovakia) and Tennessee Secondary Schools Band Directors Association.

Orchestra to present premier performance of Schoen’s Horn Concerto

During the concert, the Orchestra will present the premier performance of the late Victor Shoen’s Horn Concerto, as orchestrated by Harrell. Jeffery Whaley, principal horn player for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, is the guest soloist.

From 1954 through 1994, Victor Schoen, along with his wife, pianist Sallie Warth Schoen, was an associate professor of music at Maryville College, where he taught several fine arts courses, including music theory and music history. He died in 2004.

An accomplished composer and musician, Schoen's published works include choral pieces, chamber music, piano solos and an organ prelude. His ballet, The Dancing Princesses, was performed by the Appalachian Ballet Company. He also appeared for many years in the role of Herr Drosselmeyer in the company’s annual production of The Nutcracker.

"Our audience members are in for a real treat as they experience the musical gifts of these outstanding composers and musical guests," Robinson said.

Over 70 members strong, the Orchestra at MC is a College and community ensemble dedicated to bringing quality live symphonic music to the Blount County area four times a season. This year’s Orchestra includes students from Maryville College, the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Community College, as well as community members from Maryville, Oak Ridge and Knoxville.

The next concert on the schedule is a holiday concert slated for Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m. (please note that going forward, all Orchestra concerts will take place on Sunday afternoons instead of the traditional Monday evening performances). During that concert, the Orchestra will join forces with the Maryville College Community Chorus to perform seasonal favorites.

For more information about the Orchestra or the concert, please contact the College's Division of Fine Arts at 865.981.8150.