August 10, 2009

Symphony orchestra plans fall performances

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Save the dates -- or better still, plan a date -- for the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra (SISO) this fall.

The orchestra is students, faculty and community members under the leadership of Edward M. Benyas, professor of woodwind, oboe and conducting in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music.

Here is the schedule so far for fall 2009:

• 7:30 p.m., Sept. 22 -- Stars of Altgeld

This popular tradition features faculty and advanced students taking the spotlight as special performers at Shryock Auditorium. The beautiful castle-like Altgeld Hall is home to the School of Music. This performance includes the Romantic musical vision of Franz von Suppé (1819-1895), a Germanized Belgian who was part of the Viennese music scene. SISO performs his “Poet and Peasant Overture,” a piece popular for symphonic “pops” concerts and soundtrack spots.

Graduate student James Applegate and undergraduate Rob Reed will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Concert Piece No. 2 for Two Clarinets.” Graduate student Ji-Hyun Kim takes the stage with Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto I. Rounding out the evening’s performance is another Mendelssohn selection, the Symphony No. 5.

• 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10 -- Music of America

This evening’s performance features, obviously, American music. Numbered among the composers is one of SIUC’s own, Distinguished Alumni Glen Daum. Daum’s “Sentinels of Freedom,” a narrated piece, will surely make the Veteran’s Day eve performance memorable.

The bill also includes contemporary composer Richard Danielpour’s “Toward the Splendid City.” School of Music violinist Michael Barta, professor, takes the stage with SISO to perform a “Fantasy on Porgy and Bess,” composed by the late Alexander Courage. Courage is known for his MGM Studio arrangements, including such films as “Show Boat” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” School of Music pianist Junghwa Lee will perform Piano Concerto No. 2 by composer Edward MacDowell (1861-1908).

• 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3 -- Poulenc’s Gloria

The SIUC Concert Choir and Choral Union join SISO for this recent orchestral work, “Gloria,” referring to the sacred “Gloria in excelsis Deo” text debuted in 1961 in Boston. It is one of Francis Poulenc’s most famous works. Many music critics consider Poulenc (1899-1963) to be “one of the 20th century’s greatest religious composers.”

Other SISO performances this fall, still in the planning stages will feature guest soloists and faculty appearances.

The Stars of Altgeld and Music of America performances are two of the four performances designated within the Symphony Series. Those performances are $20 for general admission and $6 for students. “Gloria” is $10 for general admission and $5 for students.

Tickets are available in advance at the ticket offices at the SIU Arena and in the SIUC Student Center or through any TicketMaster outlet. Tickets are also available at the door beginning one hour before the performance.