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Clarion University Symphony Orchestra Presents ‘American Contemporaries’ on Sunday Afternoon

Saturday, December 7, 2019 @ 12:12 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

100_1847CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion University Symphony Orchestra will present a concert on Sunday, December 8, in the Marwick-Boyd Auditorium. 

The concert begins at 3:00 p.m.

It is free and open to the public.

Under the direction of Dr. Casey C. Teske, the theme of the concert is “American Contemporaries” which presents various orchestral compositions by iconic American composers.  The symphony orchestra will be joined by featured guest artist The Newyopercussion Quartet.

Considered the “Dean of American Composers,” Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man will open the concert.  The title is from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term where Vice-President Wallace dubbed the 20th century as “the century of the common man.”

The orchestra will continue with Summer Dances by Brian Balmages.  This is a lively dance written to celebrate the spirit of the many festivals and events during this season.

An American in Paris by George Gershwin will end the first part of the Symphony Orchestra program.  The success of this work catapulted Gershwin to international fame. 

Gershwin writes: “It’s a walking theme to capture the impression of an American visitor to the city as he strolls about, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere.”

The Newyopercussion Quartet, a dynamic professional group based in Ohio, will continue the concert with three compositions. 

They start with Scratch by Eugene Novotney which was inspired by a dream about a severe allergic reaction.  This is followed by the truly American rag, The Entertainer by Scott Joplin.  The rag genre is the first African-American music to have a significant impact on mainstream popular culture and was a predecessor to the jazz music of the 1920s and 1930s.  They end with Downfall by John beck written for four snare drums.

The orchestra will continue the last part of the concert with Leonard Bernstein’s  West Side Story Selections for Orchestra. A smash both on Broadway and later on film, West Side Story is among the most successful updates of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The final piece of the concert is A Tribute to John Williams adapted by Paul Lavender.   This is a collection of his most iconic movie themes – Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Harry Potter, Raiders March and E.T.

The Symphony Orchestra is a premier performing group consisting of the Clarion University community, including students, faculty, alumni, and residents of the surrounding area.  The group is dedicated to the quality performance of the standard orchestral repertoire and is typically joined by a professional guest artist for each concert.


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