ISU Symphony Orchestra – SYMPHONY of DIVERSITY

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Join the Iowa State University Orchestra as they celebrate a world that is a Symphony of Diversity. Bringing uncommon artists and uncommon composers to the concert hall to highlight the many cultures and peoples that make up America, the performance features the Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra under its conductor, Jonathan Govias, along with special guests Adrian Anantawan, violin, and John Rice, Elder of the Wasauksing First Nation.

Program to include:

  • Bal Masqué by American composer Amy Beach (American, 1867-1944)
  • Concerto for Violin by Amanda Maier Röntgen (Swedish, (1853-1894)
    • with guest soloist Adrian Anantawan, violin
  • Juba Dance by Nathaniel Dett (African American/Canadian, 1882-1943)
  • Ojibwe Creation Legend “Nanabush and the Giant Beaver” by Canadian composer Richard Mascall (“Singing Beaver on Water”) (2nd American performance ever), narrated by John Rice, Ojibwe Elder of the Wasauksing First Nation
  • Conga del Fuego Nuevo by Arturo Márquez, (Mexican, b. 1950)

Total program duration is just over an hour and is specifically designed to be accessible to all ages. On Friday morning the violin concerto will be reduced in length to reflect the younger audience, from 18 minutes to about 11 minutes.

The Friday morning performance will feature specially curated advance experiences for hearing-impaired (seating on stage and percussion demonstrations) and the visually impaired (instrument “petting zoo”).  Special materials (tactile maps, text-to-speech information, large-format and braille programs) for these populations will be coordinated by Iowa School for the Deaf. Appropriate seating will be reserved for audience members with visual impairments and autism, although the concert will not be “sensory friendly.”

Musical Notes:

Amy Beach is America’s first major woman composer and writer of large scale symphonic works. The orchestration of “Bal Masqué” is a recent discovery (8’)

Amanda Maier Röntgen was the first woman to complete the diploma in orchestral conducting at the Royal Swedish College of Music in 1872. She was an international violin soloist who knew Johannes Brahms, and her violin concerto is the only example by a woman from the Romantic era. (18 minutes)

Nathaniel Dett was born in Canada to an African American father and Canadian mother. He was a groundbreaking figure, studying at pre-eminent music institutions like Oberlin Conservatory and the Eastman School. Active in the first half of the 20th Century, he fused traditional African American music with the Western European tradition. “Juba Dance” may be his most famous work in its original incarnation for solo piano. (3 minutes)

Richard Mascall has been honored by the Ojibwe First Nations with the spirit name “Singing Beaver on Water” for his passionate and sensitive advocacy of their culture through symphonic music. The tale of Nanabush and the Giant Beaver harkens back to the days in which the earth was young, and relates the story of the creation of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway. (22 minutes)

Arturo Marquez is Mexico’s leading contemporary composer, and an unashamed proponent of the rhythms and sounds of Central America through his symphonic writing.  The Conga is a party piece, and a rousing way to end the concert. (5 minutes)

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