Wooster Symphony to Celebrate American Composers

Concert Saturday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. in McGaw Chapel

16 October, 2014

The Wooster Symphony Orchestra will showcase the music of five American composers Saturday, Oct. 25, 7:30 at the McGaw Chapel on the campus of The College of Wooster.

The evening offers a glimpse at the progression of styles from the early and mid-1900s to the mid-80s—from familiar, bluesy Gershwin to hauntingly expressive Martino. Guest conductor is Eric Benjamin, music director and conductor of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra. Benjamin, whose conducting teachers include Gunther Schuller and Leonard Bernstein, is also an award-winning composer.

Beginning the compositional timeline is The Unanswered Question, written by Charles Ives in 1908 but not performed until after 1946. Featuring solo trumpeter Jake Boca '15 who poses "the perennial question of existence," the piece is a forum for dueling respondents, with groups of instruments performing in independent tempos and separated from each other (the strings play entirely off stage). Also responding to the "Question" are solo flutists Amanda Stull, Paige Wallace '17, Elise Black, and instructor Denise Rotavera-Krain.

George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris in 1928 to reflect his own visit there. Richly scored to reflect the sights and sounds of Paris (including four taxi horns), the tone poem moves from the music of the streets, to a burst of homesick American blues, and concludes back in Paris.

Next on the timeline is Wallingford Riegger's exuberant Dance Rhythms, written in 1954, followed by Irving Fine's Diversions for Orchestra, written in 1959.

The most recently composed piece on the program is Donald Martino's 1981 Divertisements for Youth Orchestra, a surprising and whimsical work that uses the twelve-tone technique.

Tickets are $5 and are available at The Wooster Book Company, Buehler's (Milltown and Towne Market), the Lowry Center Wilson Bookstore on campus, and at the door of the concert. C.O.W. students may sign up for complimentary tickets at the Lowry Center Desk, and faculty, staff, and retirees may obtain complimentary tickets at the Lowry Center Wilson Bookstore.