What: Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, an American classical piece written for brass and percussion, is powerful in its simplicity and “simplicity” does not mean boring. This generally short yet instantly recognizable piece is one of Copland’s most well-known works. It was written in response to the US entry into World War II and was inspired in part by a famous speech where Vice President Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the “Century of the Common Man.”
Over his six-decade career, William Grant Still, known as the “Dean of African American Composers” worked as a performer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and composer. Symphony No. 1 in A flat Major “Afro-American” is a 1930 composition, the first symphony composed by an African American and performed for a United States audience by a leading orchestra. It combines a symphonic form with blues progressions and rhythms that were characteristic of popular African American music at the time. This combination expressed Still’s integration of black culture into the classical forms.
Composer Joan Tower’s Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman was inspired originally by Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. There are six amazing parts to the Fanfares. Part I II, III and V are scored for brass, Parts IV and VI for full orchestra. Part I was composed in 1987, Part VI (which will be performed at the concert) was composed in 2016, twenty-nine years later for a full orchestra. The fanfares are a tribute to “women who take risks and are adventurous”, with each dedicated to an inspiring woman in music.
Duke Ellington/Arr. By Custer is a great medley of Duke Ellington tunes. Four of the Duke’s best are featured in this truly brilliant arrangement, Don’t Get Around Anymore; Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me; Sophisticated Lady; and It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing. Everyone gets an important part – solos are passed around the orchestra and everyone swings! And the finale is a showstopper!
The musical West Side Story was composed principally from 1955-1957, and Leonard Bernstein assembled a portion of the score into the Symphonic Dances in 1961. West Side Story stands as an essential, influential chapter in the history of American theater, and its engrossing tale of young love against a background of spectacularly choreographed gang warfare has found a place at the core of American common culture. Bernstein speculated much earlier that a genuine, indigenous form of American musical theater would eventually arise out of what has been known as musical comedy. Many people think that, in West Side Story, this theory began to be implemented. Elements from the European and American musical stage traditions were fused into an original art form that is neither opera nor musical comedy. Everyone will recognize the familiar themes: Scherzo, Mambo; Cha-Cha and Fugue.
Who: Winner of the Young Artist Competition – The RSO is proud to announce that 16-year-old pianist Shaun Lee is the recipient of the 2023 Young Artist Competition Award. Shaun is a Junior at Troy High School whose passion for music began in at age five.
He currently studies piano under Dr. Nai-Wen Wang. He also has taken Masterclasses with Dr. Tian Tian, Associate Professor of Piano at Oakland University and Dr. Christopher Harding, Chair of Piano, and Professor of Music at the University of Michigan.
In addition to winning the RSO Young Artist Competition, Shaun has won other awards including first place in the Junior Division of Piano Day Competition at Oakland University; first place in the National North American Invitational Championship Classical Piano Qualification; and second place in the Michigan Music Teachers Association State Piano Competition Finals.
Also, as well as being an accomplished pianist, Shaun is a violinist who has been studying violin from a young age. He has been playing in the Troy High School Symphony Orchestra since his sophomore year, and currently serves as the president of the Troy High School Symphony Orchestra Council.
Where: The performance will take place at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at 620 Romeo Road, Rochester, Michigan.
When: Friday, May 12, 2023, at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: For more information to purchase tickets, contact the Ticket Office at 248-651-4181 or visit https://www.rochestersympony.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, Adults $25, and students $5.
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