South African National Youth String Orchestra

The South African National Youth String Orchestra performed College of Wooster Professor of Music Jack Gallagher's "Sinfonietta," a five-movement work for string orchestra, this past summer. 


Gallagher’s ‘Sinfonietta’ Performed by South African National Youth Orchestra

Relationship leads to composition of new work, which premiered this month

29 September, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — “Sinfonietta,” a five-movement work for string orchestra by Wooster Professor of Music Jack Gallagher, was performed in July by the South African National Youth Orchestra, conducted by Matheu Kieswetter. Prior to the first performance, Kieswetter, Music Director at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, arranged a Skype conference between Gallagher and the orchestra to discuss the work. 

Following performances of “Sinfonietta” in Potchefstroom and Johannesburg, Matthys Coetzee, the orchestra’s principal cellist, wrote Gallagher to inquire about the possibility of commissioning a new work for cello ensemble for the Northwest University School of Music and Conservatory in Potchefstroom. Gallagher agreed, composing “Elegy” for four cellos in early August. “Elegy” was premiered by the ensemble at the NWU School of Music Sept. 3 and recorded professionally Sept. 28. 

Gallagher said he felt honored to be the fortunate beneficiary of these circumstances. “The wonderful interaction made possible by these performances seemed a unique opportunity to experience the universality of music-making across continents and cultures and, enviably, for performers and composer to be linked by our mutual love of, and enthusiasm for, art and concert music. The Skype conference was a great pleasure because of the engagingly buoyant spirit, warm geniality, exuberant dedication, and musical expressiveness of each member of the ensemble.”

The Sinfonietta previously was recorded at Abbey Road Studio One by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta and published internationally on the Naxos label. Gallagher, a member of the Wooster faculty since 1977, teaches composition, orchestration, counterpoint and form, and analysis at The College of Wooster.