Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Update on 2013-2014 Season

Cinema Classics  2013-2014 Concert Season
(Music in the Movies and with the Movies)
OSU Rehearsals start Thursday, Sept. 5 at Heritage Center

Concerts at the Heritage Center, 7:30  pm., 105 North 100 East, Cedar City, Utah  

Oct. 3, Soundtrack of Our Lives
Overture to the Cowboys by John Williams with full symphony orchestra plus choirs celebrating movie music.   (Master Singers, In Jubilo, school and/or SUU choirs, as well as full orchestra selection, Jackie Jackson coordinator)

Nov. 9,  "Legends Never Die"
Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner (200th birthday year)
Prelude from Lohengrin, Act 3 by Wagner
Percussion concerto written by Keith Bradshaw with Lynn Vartan as soloist
Adagio for Strings by Barber
Overture to Die Meistersinger by Wagner

Dec. 8 and 9, 73rd Messiah "Listen to My Heart"  Sunday, Dec. 8 and Monday, Dec. 9
Dress rehearsal Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9 a.m.

Rehearsals resume Thursday, Jan. 9

Feb. 15,  Jubilee "Where Dreams are Born"    Family Matinée
(portion of Flickers, vintage silent films with classical music)
with music at 2 p.m., followed by hands on art and science activities for all ages.

Feb. 20,   Flickers "To the Stars"   dress rehearsal Feb. 19
Flickers - Classical music set to vintage silent movies, one of Jerry Waddell’s newer products.
More details on his website at
A Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky
Danse Macabre, Saint-Saens
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, 1 through 4, Grieg
Finlandia, Sibelius
Firebird Suite: Infernal Dance and Finale, Stravinsky

April 17,  R. L. Halversen Young Artists:  "The Eyes of Youth"
Dress rehearsal April 16
3 to 4 soloists
Les Preludes by Liszt

17th Annual Recitals at St. Jude's Episcopal Church, 70 North 200 West, Cedar City, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 3   "From Baroque to Broadway" under the direction of Jackie Jackson
Sept. 10  "All That Jazz" 
Sept. 17 "Musical Stories"
Sept. 24 "Around the World in 80 Minutes"
Community musicians and advanced students invited to perform.  To sign up contact Sara Penny Email at osucedarcity@gmail.com or
Phone 435-586-2286

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finale Concert and Reception

Thanks to all involved in making this a memorable season.  Great music, wonderful soloists, and dedicated musicians make the Orchestra of Southern Utah a valuable asset to our area.  The support team is incredible and we appreciate everyone involved from the Board and staff members to all the selfless volunteers.  Many thanks to Peter and Diane Pasternak for hosting the reception. 
OSU Conductor Xun Sun, Hillary Dalton, Kristen Nielson, Michael Wager, Rylee Dalton, and OSU President Harold Shirley prepare for the concert.

OSU Assistant Conductor Gerald Rheault and Guest Conductor Zheng Guo before the concert.

Mikael Thatcher provided lobby music before the concert.
Peter Pasternak prepares for a wonderful after concert reception.
Diane Pasternak gets ready for the hungry musicians, donors, and patrons.

A group from Beaver came to enjoy the concert.

Marci Staudte and Kim Montgomery were among many reception volunteers.  Thanks to all.

Jessi Kate and Madilynn Riley help  distribute reception ice cream treats.

Soloist Kristen Nielson with her sister Julie Davis after the concert.

Laurel Dodgion, Chelsea Gardner,  and some of our upcoming young musicians.

More photos courtesy of the Dalton family:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Southern Utah’s Own Tanglewood

By Bryce Christensen

A half century ago, the great American composer Aaron Copland recognized in Tanglewood and the music festival it hosts a critically important venue where “talented young musicians . . . gather.”  When such young musicians come together in such a setting, Copland believed, “their very presence . . . [can] act as a stimulus” to great music.  As the audience who gathered at the Heritage Center on April 18th can attest, the Orchestra of Southern Utah’s Roy L. Halversen Young Artist Concert has developed into a Tanglewood-like opportunity for promising young musicians in this area.  Named for an outstanding teacher whose decades of selfless service inspired hundreds of aspiring young musicians at Southern Utah University and in the surrounding community, the Halversen Concert—like Tanglewood and its festival—gives rising young stars a chance to showcase and develop their talents.  Without question, the four young guest soloists and the young guest conductor who performed at this year’s Halversen concert created a potent stimulus to musical excellence.

During the evening’s first number—Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2— the stimulus of young talent was most visible in on the conductor’s podium, where the twenty-two-year-old guest conductor Zheng Guo showed how remarkably well a young hand can wield the baton in eliciting a masterful performance of a difficult classical piece.  From the stirring opening trumpet notes to the kinetic conclusion of this richly-textured piece, Guo was in complete command, handling the quieter, reflective passages with tender sensitivity, but rendering Liszt’s kinetic eruptions with energy and passion.   Under Guo’s poised direction, OSU musicians melded their gifts in an irresistible interplay of winds, brass, strings, and percussion.  Particularly notable in this interplay were the memorable solos by trumpeter Adam Lambert, trombonist Michelle Lambert, clarinetist Sarah Solberg, and violinist LuAnne Brown—solos that stood out like shining gems embedded in an arabesque work of jewelry. Although not a soloist, OSU’s conductor and director Xun Sun did his part in this selection and in the evening’s final number by taking a seat in the violin section, as a hand that normally swings the baton skillfully applied a bowstring under the direction of a talented young guest.

For the second number, Summer by Vivaldi, Sun took his accustomed place on the conductor’s podium, where he again manifested the consummate musicianship that has now captivated Cedar City listeners for a decade.  But during this enchanting number, the limelight belonged not to Sun but to violinist Kristen Nielsen, one of four young soloists selected for this year’s Halversen’s Concert through competitive auditions.  Playing with the aplomb and self-possession of a seasoned virtuoso, Nielsen segued effortlessly from the languid opening notes of this Vivaldi masterpiece to the frenetic tempestuousness of the stormy later passages.  Though Nielsen unfolded much of her solo work against the broad backdrop of a tapestry spun out by the entire orchestra, she played some especially beautiful passages in tightly choreographed back-and-forth duets with her sister, Julie Davis, playing the cello.

In the concert’s third number the aria “Quando m’ en vo’” [“Musetta’s Waltz”] from Puccini’s La Bohème, the spotlight shifted to soprano Rylee Dalton.  From the moment she first opened her mouth, Dalton poured forth a stream of pure gold.  With impressive vocal gifts, Dalton made the famous aria luminous with the irrepressible desires of a beautiful and flirtatious woman, provoking the attention of all, but seeking the devotion of one.  Dalton displayed the marvelous richness of her voice to particularly good effect in the soaring conclusion of this number, as she effortlessly ascended her seemingly unbounded range.

The mood shifted markedly when cellist Michael Wager took over as soloist for the First Movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, a melancholy and brooding number.  With nuanced deftness of expression, Wager conveyed this dark composition’s deeply moving strain of pathos, a pathos born of Elgar’s deep distress over the carnage of World War I.  His performance poignantly complemented by the orchestra, Wager carried listeners from a subdued and reflective grief to a sense of mourning mounting to surprisingly majestic dignity.

The shadows of elegy gave way to the brilliance of celebration in Sibelius’ technically demanding Violin Concerto, as violinist Hillary Dalton took the stage as the last of the evening featured youth soloists.  Listeners could only marvel at the way Dalton performed the most daunting passages—passages requiring rapid movement through complex phrasings—not only with flawless technique but also with evident relish.  This was clearly a musician who positively enjoyed meeting musical challenges!   Though Dalton’s success in meeting such challenges was most obvious in the numerous feverishly dynamic sections of this number, her success was also evident in the more muted and pensive sections, sections Dalton rendered with liquid delicacy.

Though the parade of the Halversen soloists ended with the Intermission, the evening’s final number-- The Moldau by Smetana—reminded listeners that OSU need not bring in a young guest conductor from China to find a strikingly-gifted musician to take the podium whenever Master Sun wishes to employ his abilities in the violin section.  OSU Assistant Conductor Gerald Rheault indeed handled the baton for this last number with singular mastery, leading the orchestra in an artfully modulated performance of a many-hued musical evocation of the heart-stirring beauties of central Europe.  Named for a river that cuts through what was once Czechoslovakia, this Romantic treasure sparkles again and again as it transports listeners from Bavarian springs where the river originates, through valleys where it swells in volume and strength, and finally broadens into regal breadth on the plains near Prague.  Thanks to the interpretive deftness evinced by Rheault and the OSU musicians under his direction, listeners felt the natural growth of a brook augmented by tributaries, the turbulent cascades of a river fighting its way through a rocky gorge, the placid serenity of a mature river.  They also felt the echoes of human activities along the swelling river’s banks—the clamorous excitement of a hunt, the communal joy of a wedding, the proud glories of an aristocrat’s castle. 

As the emphatic last note of the Smetana number died away, listeners realized that another wonderful concert, another wonderful concert season, had ended.  But because of the way the Halversen concert—Southern Utah’s own little evocation of Tanglewood---fosters youthful talent, these listeners had every reason to hope that excellent music will continue to be a culturally enriching part of Cedar City for decades to come!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Concerto Previews for Thursday, April 18, 2013 Concert

Elgar Cello Concerto:  
Some were inquiring about the Elgar Cello Concerto at rehearsal and what it "meant."

During my interview with World Class Cellist Zuill Bailey a few months ago (on his new CD of the Elgar Concerto) he related to me the story behind this important concerto.

1.  First the entire concerto is a lamentation for all mankind following WWI.  Elgar saw no real hope for the future of mankind.  We hear this in the 1st movement as it relates sadness of humanity and in the middle of the movement, you can hear Elgar's remembrance of happier days in his childhood before tragedy (heard in the brass) strikes again and the movement ends in melancholy.

2.  Also 2 personal very tragic events occurred in his life as well.  First Elgar's mother passed away and then a few months later his sister (who he was extremely close to) passed away as well.

Thus Elgar was under a VERY "black cloud" when he wrote this cello concerto.

Ken Hedgecock, Producer of Classical Music Discoveries and Trombonist in OSU

To preview the concerti for the April 18 Concert:

Jacqueline du Pre's version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUgdbqt2ON0

Musetta's Waltz from La Boheme by Puccini

Summer from The Seasons by Vivaldi

Sibelius Violin Concerto
Third movement (Allegro ma non tanto) that starts at 25:30   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsbrRAgv1b4

Previews for the Liszt and Smetana on earlier blog entries.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Exploring Hungarian Music on April 18, 2013

Halversen Program Notes
by Robert Gordon
Franz Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Zheng Guo, Guest Conductor
The Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt (1811-1866) is one of the more familiar works in the concert repertoire. It has long been a showcase for pianists, of course, and tonight’s orchestrated version will be instantly recognizable to even the more infrequent concert goer.
Liszt himself was a world renowned pianist, and his compositions for piano were in great demand during his lifetime and have been ever since. But he might have been slightly nonplussed had he been able to foresee how much the popularity of this particular piece in recent years has rested on its use as film music, and especially as background music for cartoons. But if the listener can avoid conjuring up visions of Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry, the music will be found to be very enjoyable and worthwhile.
Preview the music on  YouTube:

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt:  Orchestra version:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN92591mDaE
Victor Borge has fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyArTMtgT1w  start at 3:07 for when he gets to the piano.
Lang, Lang  piano solo version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-EGKpbIBuw
Then there's Bugs Bunny's version complete with carrots:
Concert on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Heritage Center in Cedar City. 
More information on next blog entry or www.orchestraofsouthernutah.org
Photo by Bob Sharak looking down at Danube River in Budapest.

Photo by Bob Sharak

Parliament Building from Danube River

Photos of Budapest by Des and Sara Penny, except as noted above.