Symphony, University Choir, Choral Union, Courante Youth Chorus to Perform ‘Carmina Burana’


The Southeast Missouri Symphony, University Choir, Choral Union and Courante Youth Chorus will combine to perform Carl Orff’s famous “Carmina Burana” for full orchestra, choirs and soloists at 7:30 p.m. April 24 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

Also on the concert will be the “Tragic Overture” by Johannes Brahms. Southeast faculty members Dr. Sara Edgerton will conduct the “Tragic Overture” and Dr. Barbara Lamont will conduct “Carmina Burana.”

“We are very much looking forward to this special upcoming performance of ‘Carmina Burana,’” Edgerton said. “There will be a total of nearly 200 musicians on stage for this concert — 65 orchestra musicians plus over 120 choral singers. It will be a spectacular performance!  We anticipate that this will be a memorable performance and a highlight of the concert season!”

The concert will open with the “Tragic Overture” by the great Romantic composer Brahms.  It was composed in 1880, the same year that Brahms composed the “Academic Festival Overture.”  In contrast to the light-hearted, playful character of the “Academic Festival Overture,” the “Tragic Overture” is a stormy, impassioned work. Brahms himself commented upon the characters of these two overtures: “one laughs while the other cries.”

The overture will then be followed by Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” a large-scale cantata for full symphony orchestra, full choir plus children’s choir, and soprano, tenor and baritone vocal soloists.  Orff used as his text for this work a series of poems dating back to the 11th through 13th centuries, written in Latin and in secular Medieval languages from France and Germany.  Orff wrote the cantata between 1935 and 1937, and it received its premiere on June 8, 1937, in Frankfurt, Germany. With its powerful rhythms, entrancing melodies and amazing orchestration, this work was immediately very well received, and it has gone on to become one of the most popular and beloved major works for orchestra and chorus. In particular, the famous “O Fortuna” Chorus has been used in hundreds of films, commercials, trailers and video games. The NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, for instance, play the chorus at the opening of each home game.

For this performance, the Southeast Missouri Symphony will be joined by the University Choir, Choral Union, and the newly-formed youth choir, the Courante Youth Chorus, under the direction of Southeast faculty member Dr. Elizabeth McFarland. Also appearing on this performance will be guest vocal soloists Jessica Rosas, soprano; Chad Payton, countertenor; and Ian Greenlaw, baritone.  The two important piano parts in the “Carmina Burana” will be performed by Dr. Kevin Hampton, chair of the Department of Music, and Mary Miller, collaborative pianist for the Choral Union.


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