Briefs: OA Symphony concert January 23, 2009

Continuing with its “American Dreams” theme, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra and Western Colorado Chorale will present two performances of “Gershwin, Copland & Bernstein,” a tribute to American composers.

The first concert will be Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Grand Junction High Schoolauditorium.

Then, on Sunday, Feb. 8, the same concert will be performed at the Montrose Pavilion. It will be the first time the symphony has played at that venue.

The concert will feature all American composers, including a Gwyneth Walker choral piece “A Testament to Peace” to open the concert.

This will be the Colorado premiere of Walker’s trilogy composed between 2005 and 2007, according to the symphony.

“They showcase Ms. Walker’s ability to create moving climatic points and the extreme vocal ranges of the Chorale,” a symphony news release said.

Walker acknowledges Celtic and Italian influences in her work, while listeners will detect some Aaron Copland, according to an interview Walker did with writer Chris Costanzo for The Randolph Herald.

The chorale also will sing along with Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” which is entirely in Hebrew.

The second half of the concert will highlight the pieces “Letter from Home” by Copland and
“An American in Paris” by George Gershwin.

“Letter from Home” was written during World War II for a radio broadcast, according to the symphony news release. When asked about the piece, Copland said, “It’s very sentimental, but not meant to be taken too literally — I meant only to convey the emotion that might naturally be awakened in the recipient by reading a letter from home.”

The “Gershwin, Copland & Bernstein” concert will be co-conducted by Monte Atkinson and Kirk Gustafson.


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