GENESEO, N.Y. - James Walker, SUNY distinguished service professor of music, begins his 41st year as conductor of the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra Oct. 3 with a concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Barber, one of America's foremost composers. The program begins at 3 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium and is open to the public without charge.
Included on the program will be two of Barber's most famous works: the Adagio for Strings, conducted by Geneseo student Louis Lohraseb, and Knoxvile: Summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra on a text by James Agee, sung by soprano Pamela Kurau, head of Geneseo's vocal department. The concert also will feature Amy Stanley, head of the piano department, in a performance of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2.
The orchestra, now 90 members strong, will conclude the concert with the original version of Mussorgsky's malevolent Night on Bald Mountain.
"The original version of this piece was so unrelentingly satanic that after Mussorgsky died, his good friend Rimsky-Korsakov ‘revised' the work and gave it a very kind, ecumenical ending - the version that most of the world knows," said Walker. "That wasn't what Mussorgsky intended. He wanted an unexpurgated depiction of evil, with Satan arriving among the diabolical creatures and reveling until his thirsts were quenched. That's what this version does; it's a marvelous ‘rough diamond' and a totally different piece when compared to the bowdlerized version that Rimsky-Korsakov created."
The Geneseo Symphony Orchestra is a collaboration between the best wind, percussion and string players in the SUNY Geneseo student body and members of the music faculty who coach and perform in the ensemble. The result is the performance of some of the finest literature written for a large orchestra.
For more information on the concert, call 585-245-5824.
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