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Berkshire Symphony

Fri, February 29th, 2008
8:00 pm

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Ronald Feldman, conductor

The Berkshire Symphony will give a concert on Friday, Feb. 29, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. There will also be a pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall in Bernhard Music Center. This free event is open to the public.

This evening’s program will consist of Felipe Lara’s Onda, David Kechley’s WAKEFUL VISIONS/MOONLESS DREAMS: A Symphony in Four Movements, Kevin Kaska’s: Suite from the video game Lair, and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

WAKEFUL VISIONS/MOONLESS DREAMS is a symphony in which each of the four movements finds its point of departure in a literally quote including those from the Bible (Hosea 8:7), a Japanese haiku about the sea, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the writings of Marcel Proust.

Since the 1968 premiere of Second Composition for Large Orchestra by the Seattle Symphony, David Kechley has produced works in all genres, which have been performed by major orchestras, chamber groups, as well as colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad.

His music draws from a variety of sources including the “usual suspects” of twentieth century concert music, other concert composers from the past and present, and many forms of vernacular, popular, and ethnic musics. Although these influences are generally integrated into a consistent style, the resulting musical narratives often create sharp contrasts between lyricism, virtuosity, and dramatic gesture.

Kechley’s work has been recognized by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Barlow Foundation and many of his pieces have been awarded prizes including Five Ancient Lyrics on Poems by Sappho, Concerto for Violin and Strings, In the Dragon’s Garden, and Restless Birds before the Dark Moon. One of his most recent works, BOUNCE: Inventions, Interludes, and Interjections, for guitar and saxophone, was premiered at the World Saxophone Congress in July, 2006 in Ljubljana, Slovenia by the Ryoanji Duo.

Born in Seattle, Washington, March 16, 1947, Kechley was educated at the University of Washington, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Case Western Reserve University. His teachers include Paul Tufts, Robert Suderburg, William Bergsma, James Beale, and Donald Erb. His music has been recorded and released on the Liscio Recordings, Albany Records, Reference Recording, and others.

Felipe Lara was born in the state of São Paulo, Brazil in 1979. Lara’s music has been performed in many festivals including Acanthes, Wellesley Composers Conference, June-In-Buffalo, 26th New Music and Arts Festival (Bowling Green), Atlantic Center for the Arts, Domaine Forget, Bienal da Musica Brasileira Contemporanea, Newport Festival, Festival de Musica Nova, and others. Lara’s Music has also been performed by the Arditti Quartet, Le Nouvel Ensemble Modern, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York New Music Ensemble, Duo Diorama, Radnofsky Saxophone Quartet, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Triple Helix, and the Juilliard Pierrot Ensemble. Recently the Arditti Quartet has performed his work Corde Vocale in the United States, Brazil and Luxemburg. As a finalist of the “Staubach Prize” Lara was commissioned by the International Musikinstitut Darmstadt to compose a new work for string quartet and live-electronics to be premiered at the 44th International Courses for New Music by the Arditti Quartet and the Experimentalstudio Freiburg.

American composer, arranger, record producer, and conductor, Kevin Kaska is one of America’s leading young musical talents. His orchestral compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations have been played by over 50 symphony orchestras worldwide, including John Williams and Keith Lockhart with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra (five CDs), Royal Scottish National Orchestra (recorded on CD), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (recorded on CD), Maynard Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band, Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the Seattle Philharmonic, Port Angeles Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Berkshire Symphony, Cape Ann Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Austin Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Wichita Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Buffalo Symphony, Racine Symphony, Glens Falls Symphony, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Symphony Pro Musica, Orchestra X in Houston, Youngstown Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Cascade Symphony, Doctor’s Orchestra of Houston, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Bavarian Philharmonic, Bach Collegium of Munich, Puerto Rico Philharmonic, and the Boston Metropolitan Orchestra.

The Berkshire Symphony is conducted by Ronald Feldman and includes nearly 70 members, half of whom are students and half of whom are professional musicians. The ensemble presents four major concerts each season. In addition to performing the great standards of orchestral repertoire a recurring theme each year is the performance of contemporary works. Championing the works of living American composers has been an integral part of the mission of the Berkshire Symphony.

The final program in the spring features the winners of the Berkshire Symphony Student Soloist Competition. This event is a great showcase for the extraordinary talent at Williams College and is always a highlight of the season.

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