Concord Chamber Orchestra Finishes 2009-2010 Season
With a Tribute to Johannes Brahms
The Concord Chamber Orchestra (CCO) will round out its 2009-10 “North, South, East, West” season at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (1615 Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213) with its West concert, featuring a tribute to the composer who many consider to be the pinnacle of Western art music, Johannes Brahms. The concert will feature two of the composer’s masterworks – the “Double” Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, featuring local musicians John Patek on violin and Jared Snyder on cello; and an arrangement for full orchestra of Brahms’ String Quintet, Op. 111, by Keith MacGaffey. The concert will also include selections from Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid, and a suite taken from the Wisconsin-born composer Randy Peterson’s bluegrass and folk inspired instrumental album, The Horse from Coulee Glen, arranged for string orchestra by the famed Australian composer Sean O’Boyle.
The first half will open with the Peterson suite, which was adapted by Sean O’Boyle from a fiddle/guitar/mandolin piece. The Horse from Coulee Glen was originally conceived as the soundtrack for an otherwise silent short film chronicling the story of a horse donated to the Union cause in the Civil War. The story served as a framework for the music, which becomes progressively darker and more complex, ending in a bittersweet resolution as the horse dies in battle. Randy Peterson is a native of Wisconsin (New Berlin, Eisenhower High School class of 1979) and a songwriter currently residing in San Diego, CA, working “in the musical backwater where folk, acoustic blues and Americana genres overlap.”
The first half of the concert will conclude with Brahms’ “Double” Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, featuring local up-and-coming musicians John Patek on violin and Jared Snyder on cello.
John Patek was born in Wisconsin, and began violin lessons before his third birthday. He was a member of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony, winning the concerto competition at all four levels and serving as concertmaster for Senior Symphony. John was a student of Joan Rooney and then continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) with the late Vartan Manoogian. There he was featured soloist with the UW Symphony, performing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and was a member of the Madison Symphony and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. After graduating in 2004, John began studying with Stefan Muhmenthaler in Switzerland. He was a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Neuchâtel and served as the concertmaster for the Conservatoire de Musique de Neuchâtel. John is currently a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Philharmonic, and still performs regularly in Switzerland. He maintains a private violin studio and teaches at Milwaukee Montessori School.
Jared Snyder, currently 27, began his cello studies at eight years old with the Suzanne Hayworth, and spent several summers at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and the Meadowmount School of Music in New York. In Milwaukee, Mr. Snyder was on the roster of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony and was their principal cellist for three years, including a performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 both in Milwaukee and on tour in Quebec. He began his undergraduate degree at The Juilliard School in New York City, and spent several years as the cellist of the former Sphinx Quartet, giving performances and master classes across and outside the country, including several different concerts in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, teaching and performing on the island of Bermuda, and performing with the world-famous Guarneri String Quartet. In 2001 Mr. Snyder was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts by the U.S. Department of Education, and was honored after a performance at Washington DC’s famed Kennedy Center with an award from the President of the United States. Mr. Snyder has performed with several orchestras around the world and on the National Public Radio programs “From the Top” and “Lake Effect,” as well as on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes.”
The second half of the concert will open with two selections from Aaron Copland’s ballet Billy the Kid, the well known “Prairie Night (Card Game)” and “Celebration Dance after Billy’s Capture,” which captures both the spirit of the Old West and the influence of Mexican folk music on American music.
The concert will end with a transcription of Brahms’ monumental String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111, for full orchestra, prepared by Menomonee Falls musician and Brahms aficionado Keith MacGaffey. Mr. MacGaffey writes: “I have for a long time had a minor obsession with the fact that most composers in the classical tradition conceive instrumental music either for keyboard instruments or for string ensembles, at least as a starting point …. It has therefore seemed to me that the players of wind instruments have been somewhat cheated of the opportunity to play much of the greatest music in the classical literature ….” Mr. MacGaffey goes on to point out that Brahms’ close friend, Clara Schumann, wrote in a letter to Brahms that his Piano Quintet in F Minor (Op. 34) is “masterly from every point of view, but it is not a sonata, but a work whose ideas you might – and must – scatter over an entire orchestra.” Mr. MacGaffey has prepared a work that very closely resembles one of Brahms late symphonies, and has succeeded marvelously, effectively adding to the existing canon of Brahms’ late symphonic works.
The Concord Chamber Orchestra, now in its 34th year, is comprised of talented adult musicians from many professions who keep their skills and love of music alive by participating in the four-concert season. Music Director Jamin Hoffman, currently in his fifth season as Music Director, served as resident conductor of the Milwaukee Ballet for 13 years and is currently the orchestra director at Nicolet High School.
The CCO is committed to broadening the appeal of classical music by offering classical music at an affordable price and presenting outreach concerts. It has received funding from the Milwaukee Arts Board, the Helen Bader Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. They can be purchased through PayPal at the CCO’s web site — www.concordorchestra.org — or by phone at 414-628-6018.
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