Web Site to Provide Blogs, Photos of Orchestra’s China Tour

Photo of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra performing in China

The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra is touring China this week as part of the 2009 American Celebration of Music in China.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 26, 2009 – While the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra tours China this week as part of the 2009 American Celebration of Music in China, their tour is only a click away for those wishing to follow them online.

Visitors to www.semo.edu/symphony can access travel logs written by members of the orchestra and photos of the orchestra performing and touring in China, said Thomas Marrone, manager of Web design and support at Southeast.

Marrone said a banner highlighting the orchestra’s China Tour also is available from the University’s home page at www.semo.edu. Those wishing to follow the orchestra’s first international concert tour also may click on the banner to access the orchestra’s China tour site. To learn about the day to day activities of the orchestra while in China, the University also is encouraging visitors to become a “fan” of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra on Facebook.com, an online social networking site.

On Saturday, May 23, the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra departed from St. Louis for China where it is presenting a series of concerts as part of the 2009 American Celebration of Music in China.  The orchestra will perform at several prestigious venues, including the world famous Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing today, May 26, and at an outdoor concert on the Great Wall of China, weather permitting, on May 27. The orchestra is scheduled to give a special collaborative concert with the Shanghai Normal University Orchestra at the Concert Hall of Shanghai Normal on May 29. The orchestra’s final stop on its international concert tour will be at Zhedjiang Provincial University and in Hangzhou, one of China’s most esteemed cultural sites, where it will perform on May 30.  The orchestra is expected to arrive back in the United State on June 1.

Sara Edgerton said she first visited China in the spring of 2007, where she gave a series of concerts with fellow Southeast faculty members Brandon Christensen and Jennifer Lim Judd. The three visited several universities, gave masterclasses and participated in a number of exchanges with Chinese music professors.

“All of our concerts in China were enthusiastically received,” Edgerton said. “Our Chinese hosts were unbelievably gracious and extended invitations to us to return, and to bring our orchestra with us.”

Their trip in 2007 was the genesis for the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra China Tour.

“We felt that this would be a perfect opportunity for our students to gain professional touring experience while gaining an appreciation for the communicative power and universality of music,” Edgerton said. “At the same time, they would be able to experience the rich culture and warm appreciation for music that is so apparent in China.

“To share the language of music with a culture halfway around the world is thrilling,” she said.

The orchestra’s performances in China will feature an exciting and diverse program of music, including a world premiere performance of a work written by Southeast faculty member Robert Fruehwald.  Faculty and guest artists to be featured on the concert are: Brandon Christensen, violin; Jennifer Lim Judd, piano; and Paul Thompson, flute; along with Tanesha Reeves, Southeast student flutist.  Sara Edgerton, artistic director of the Southeast Missouri Symphony, will conduct the concerts. 

The performances in China will begin with the ethereal “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  This tone poem for orchestra and violin soloist is a dreamy, lyrical evocation of a skylark soaring above the English countryside.  It was written in 1914 and first performed with full orchestral accompaniment in 1921.  It has become an enduringly popular work, and was voted in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as number one in the Classic FM Hall of Fame. Christensen will perform the violin solo part in this performance.  Next, the orchestra will present the energetic “Impresario Overture, K. 486” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, followed by Mozart’s impressive, tuneful “Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488.”  This beautiful, elegant work for piano soloist and orchestra was written in the spring of 1786, around the time of the premiere of Mozart’s famous opera, the “Marriage of Figaro.”  Mozart himself performed the solo piano part of this concerto in its first performances.  Guest artist Judd will perform the solo piano part for this concert.

The second half of the concerts will feature a world premiere work, “River,” composed by Fruehwald for the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra to perform in China.  According to Fruehwald, his work “represents a journey down the Mississippi, from its source in the north, so small and shallow that one can walk across it, to the bustling industrial cities of Minneapolis, St. Louis and Memphis. The river grows bigger and wider as it flows south until it reaches New Orleans, below which a strange thing happensᾰit gets smaller and more narrow until, at the gulf of Mexico, it almost disappears entirely.  While the entire ensemble is used to illustrate the journey of the river, two solo flutes are used to depict its changing moods.”

Thompson and Reeves will perform the two solo flute parts with the orchestra.

The second half of the concerts also will include lively, colorful works by Classical composer J. C. Bach (one of J. S. Bach’s famous sons), as well as a newly orchestrated version of “Happy Spring Holidays,” a traditional Chinese folk song.