Wind Ensemble to Perform World Premiere of "Symphony for Band"
Friday, January 30, 2009
The Butler Wind Ensemble will perform the world premiere of James Beckel’s Symphony for Band as part of its 2 p.m. Feb. 15 concert at Clowes Memorial Hall.
Admission is free; no tickets are required. Call (317) 940-6444 for more information.
Symphony for Band, written by the principal trombonist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, was commissioned by a Butler-led consortium of schools.
“It is always a privilege and an honor to help to bring a new work of art into existence,” said Professor Robert Grechesky, director of bands at Butler. “It is a special honor when the composer is a colleague like Jim Beckel, whom I have known for more than 35 years. The Butler University Wind Ensemble is proud to be able to present the first performance of a piece that we hope will become a staple of the band repertoire.”
Grechesky said the idea to commission a piece came to him about three years ago when the Wind Ensemble performed Beckel’s composition The American Dream. Beckel worked with the ensemble, then came to watch the performance.
“He was very impressed with the band, and I remarked to him that it would be great if we could get a large scale, significant work for band from him,” Grechesky said. “That opportunity came about two years ago when I decided to put together a consortium of bands to commission a large work.”
Fourteen university and high school bands joined together. The result is Symphony for Band.
Grechesky said the composition, based on John Donne's poem “Death Be Not Proud,” represents the journey through life that we all must travel.
“It is a wonderful piece, extremely well crafted, that Beckel himself says could be subtitled ‘Passages,’” he said. “From the buoyant exuberance of youth to the intensity of dealing with one's demons, and finally conquering death, the music reflects the entire spectrum of emotions and feelings.”
The Feb. 15 concert also will feature Emily Toth, principal horn of the Butler Wind Ensemble and senior performance major in the School of Music, performing the Concerto No. 2 for Horn by Richard Strauss.
The rarely heard Deuxiéme Suite by Theodore DuBois will round out the program.
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