CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 21, 2014 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, along with the University Choir and Choral Union, will combine to perform Joseph Haydn’s late, great “Harmonie” Mass for orchestra, full choir and vocal soloists May 6 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with a free pre-concert talk slated to begin at 6:45 p.m. for all concert ticket holders.
Also on the program will be this year’s winners of the annual Concerto and Aria and Rising Star Competitions. Sara Edgerton and Peter Durow, Department of Music faculty at Southeast Missouri State University, will conduct this concert.
The concert will open with the rousing “Overture to Nabucco,” written by the great Italian composer, Giuseppe Verdi. This popular overture includes lyrical melodies and exciting fanfares, highlighting all sections of the orchestra: the woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.
The next two pieces on the program will showcase the talents of this year’ Collegiate Concerto and Aria Competition: Brittney Leimkuehler, soprano, and Andrea Ridings, violin. Leimkuehler, vocal performance major at Southeast, will perform the famous “Michaela” aria from Georges Bizet’s beloved “Carmen” opera. Leimkuehler has been a member of the University Choir and Choral Union and is an active performer in the opera program at Southeast Missouri State University, having sung roles in “Cosi fan tutte,” “Suor Angelica,” “Dido and Aeneas,” and “Die Zauberflote.” After graduation, Leimkuehler plans to pursue a Master of Music in vocal performance. She is a student of Timothy Schmidt at Southeast.
Also on the first half of the program, the orchestra will perform the “Agathon” movement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade for Violin, Strings, Percussion, and Harp,” inspired by Plato’s “Symposium.” Agathon was a tragic poet from Plato’s “Symposium,” and this movement is a musical tribute to the poet. Ridings, a violin performance major at Southeast, will perform this work with the orchestra. Ridings is active in Southeast’s chamber music program and has performed in the Opera Orchestra at Southeast. As a member of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, Ridings has served as concertmaster and as principal second violin of that ensemble. She studies the violin at Southeast with Brandon Christensen.
The first half of the concert will conclude with Peter Tchaikovsky’s brilliant “Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra.” With its Mozart-like elegance and grace, this work highlights both the beautiful singing qualities of the cello as well as its capability for exciting virtuosic display. The soloist for this work will be Michael Zyzak, this year’s winner of the pre-collegiate Rising Star Competition. Zyzak, 16, of the Chicago area, began his cello studies at age four. In 2007, Zyzak made his professional solo debut with the Louisville Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Jason Weinberger. He has also appeared live numerous times as an invited guest on WUOL 90.5. He is a first prize winner in numerous competitions, including the 2007 Louisville Orchestra Young Artist Competition, WUOL 90.5 Young Artist Competition, OMTA All-State Buckeye Competition and the 2009 Dayton Philharmonic Solo Competition. Zyzak was a prize winner in the 2010 Cincinnati Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition. In 2009, he became the first prize winner in the International David Popper Cello Competition, Hungary.
The second half of the concert will present Haydn’s late, great “Harmonie” Mass, written in 1802. This work will be performed by the Southeast Missouri Symphony, University Choir and Choral Union, along with vocal soloists Jacqueline Collett, soprano, vocal faculty at Truman State University; and Leslie Jones, contralto, Christopher Goeke, tenor, and Timothy Schmidt, baritone, all vocal faculty at Southeast. This work is the last of the six late masses that Haydn wrote near the end of his life for the Esterhazy court. In addition to strings, the work includes prominent use of winds (flute, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, French horns, and trumpets); its title derives from the Viennese term for wind band: “harmonie.”
Tickets are available and may be purchased by calling the River Campus Box Office at (573) 651-2265 or by visiting RiverCampusEvents.com.