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Gerald Carpenter: University Symphony to End Year with ‘Preludes’

New works by three student composers will be part of Wednesday's program

Dr. Richard Rintoul will conduct the UCSB Symphony Orchestra in its final concert of the 2009-10 academic year at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (UCSB campus).

The program, called “Preludes,” will begin with Claude Debussy’s Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun and close with Franz Liszt’s symphonic poem Les Preludes. In between, we will hear three new works by student composers Elliot Burke, Chris Schunk and Chad Skopp, and the delightful five-movement suite from Sergei Prokofiev’s score for the 1933 film Lieutenant Kije.

Anthony Kim will be the assistant conductor.

Prokofiev actually prepared two versions of the Lieutenant Kije Suite, one for saxophone and one for bass-baritone. This performance will take the road less-traveled, with the eminent Russian bass Nikolai Massenkoff singing the saxophone solos.

Massenkoff was in town for the graduation of his son, Maxim, who has played double bass with the UCSB Symphony for the past several years, and Maestro Rintoul found the opportunity too rare to pass up. (Conspicuous achievement seems to run in the family. Maxim, an economics major, is the recipient of a number of UCSB awards, including the Thomas Storke Most Outstanding Graduating Senior Award — a campuswide honor.)

While Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz and others wrote concert overtures that are, in fact, symphonic poems, Liszt was the first composer to apply the name to a program composition, and by naming it, invented the form. He wrote 12 symphonic poems; Les Preludes (1848) is the third in the series, and the most popular.

Tickets to “Preludes” are a bargain — $15 for the general public and $7 for students — considering the high quality of the music and the music-making. Tickets will be available at the door. For information about Music Department events, click here or call 805.893.7001.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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