The Southeast Missouri Symphony will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s famous “Fifth Symphony” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.
Featured soloists on the concert will be Southeast students Jenny Hunt, clarinet, and Anthony Kandilaroff, flute, winners of the 2019 Concerto and Aria Competition, and high school student Theo Bockhurst, violin, winner of the Rising Star Concerto Competition.
The program will open with Aaron Copland’s “Clarinet Concerto.” This evocative work for clarinet and strings was commissioned by the great jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman in 1947. The concerto opens with an ethereal, lovely clarinet melody. After an extended and brilliant cadenza, the second half of the work is based on driving rhythms and virtuoso clarinet writing, all strongly influenced by jazz. Hunt, a double major in music education and music performance at Southeast, will be the featured clarinet soloist in this work.
Next on the program will be “Out of the Cool” by British composer Dave Heath. This piece was written in 1978 specifically as a jazz piece for flute and orchestra and is inspired by the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Kandilaroff, a flute performance major at Southeast, will be the flute soloist for this work. The first half of the concert will conclude with the Finale from Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra,” written in 1880. This work is based upon Scottish folk melodies, which permeate the spirit and energy of the composition. The melody of the final movement is from a traditional Scottish song that also was used as the Scottish anthem for many years. Bockhurst, a violinist and high school student from Clayton (Missouri) High School, will perform this work with the Symphony.
For the second half of the concert, the Southeast Missouri Symphony, under the director of Dr. Sara Edgerton of Southeast’s Department of Music, will perform the famous “Fifth Symphony” by the great 20th century Russian composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. This impressive and exhilarating work was written by Shostakovich during a period of extreme stress and suffering — his music had just been condemned by the totalitarian Stalinist regime, and Shostakovich lived in fear of his life. In this oppressive setting, Shostakovich found the inspiration to write a monumental and life-affirming symphony. It received great acclaim upon its first performance and has remained among the most popular and frequently-performed symphonies of the 20th century. From the emotionally-charged rhythms and melodies of the first movement, to the dance-like second movement and expressive third movement, to the glorious and last movement, this symphony truly portrays the triumph of the human spirit.
The Southeast Missouri Symphony sponsors two competitive young artist competitions each year: a pre-collegiate Rising Star Concerto Competition and the collegiate Concerto and Aria Competition. The Concerto and Aria Competition is open to all music majors and minors who are currently enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University. The Rising Star Competition is open to all pre-college string players who wish to compete for the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra. Both competitions are held in two rounds: a preliminary round and a final round. The collegiate competition included entrants on a wide variety of instruments as well as voice. The Rising Star Competition had entrants from throughout the Midwest and from as far away as Nebraska and New Jersey.
“We are very excited about this concert,” Edgerton said. “Shostakovich’s ‘Fifth Symphony’ is a powerful and very influential work, and we are thrilled to be able to present this masterpiece here at the River Campus. And, all the soloists are phenomenal! I think the audiences will really appreciate hearing their performances. The music that the soloists will be performing is so appealing, with the jazz influenced music by Copland and Heath, and the Scottish melodies in the Bruch composition. This is definitely a program for the entire family!”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or online at RiverCampus.org.