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Orchestra to present fall concert tonight

Nov. 11, 2010

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Courtesy Photo
The Baylor Symphony Orchestra performs in the Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

By Liz Appling
Reporter

The School of Music will present "Expressions of Virtuosity," a free concert featuring the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, at 7:30 p.m. today in Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

Stephen Heyde, the Mary Franks Thompson professor of orchestral studies and director of orchestral activities, described the orchestra and the School of Music as being "analogous to the football team."

"We recruit nationally and we give scholarships to play," Heyde said. "We're recruiting Big 12 quality on the musical side of things."

Presenting several concerts each year, the Baylor Symphony Orchestra is the School of Music's premiere orchestral ensemble and is under the conduction of Heyde.

Every year, several hundred students audition to be a part of the orchestra and about 90 are chosen. The Symphony Orchestra is composed of these students and every member of the Chamber Orchestra, another highly selective ensemble in the School of Music.

Katie White, a graduate student from Weatherford and violist in the orchestra, said playing in the orchestra is great experience for her as a musician.

"Baylor's orchestra is a really great program because we get the chance to play a lot of standard works as well as many lesser-known works," White said.

The concert will begin with two pieces by the Chamber Orchestra that Heyde describes as "exceptionally difficult."

"They are light, delicate, fast and virtuosic for the orchestra," he said.

These opening compositions will come from Felix Mendelssohn's "Music for William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'"

Heyde said he named the concert "Expressions of Virtuosity" because the concert will open with these pieces and the theme of virtuosity will be maintained throughout the entire performance.

"We are programming the opening pieces primarily for the Chamber Orchestra because we are taking 39 members of the Chamber Orchestra to Belgium over Thanksgiving," Heyde said.

The concert will then present the Symphony Orchestra with Patricia Crispino, a recent graduate from the masters of music program and current artist diploma candidate in clarinet performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Heyde explained Crispino's involvement stemmed from a competition that occurs each year in the School of Music for one person to play a concerto.

Crispino won the competition for the 2009-2010 school year and will be back at Baylor tonight to specifically play "Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 57" composed by Carl Nielson.

Crispino said she is excited to return to Baylor to play as a soloist for an orchestra.

"This work is not performed very often and a lot of people don't really care for it because it seems somewhat disjunct, so my goal is to show how good the music of this piece is," Crispino said.

After intermission, the Chamber Orchestra will perform Piet Swerts' "Martenizza: Festival Overture," a composition they will also be taking to Belgium.

The Symphony Orchestra will then play "Symphony in C" by Georges Bizet, a performance that will feature Carrollton senior Andrew Stiefel as a guest student conductor.

Heyde said "Symphony in C" is a skillfully composed piece written by Bizet when he was 17 years old and is "definitely representative of the virtuosic theme that is relevant throughout the entire concert."

"The beautiful thing about an orchestra is you have all these different colors in the sounds from the instruments," Heyde said.

There are four distinct families in the orchestra - the woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings - and each one contributes "a specific kind of excitement" to the piece, Heyde said.

"The brass is loud and more dramatic. The strings are more lyrical and lush. The woodwinds are usually highly facile and the percussion, of course, just undergird everything both rhythm and different kinds of colorful sound," Heyde said.