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UCSB Music Alumnus Returns in Style

Dr. James Sitterly will play the solo part in one of his own compositions, Dreaming Gypsy.

It’s a little late in the fall quarter, but the UCSB Symphony and its music director, Richard Rintoul, are having a cozy sort of homecoming celebration for an alumnus of the music department’s performance program.

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Dr. James Sitterly, a graduate of the UCSB music program, will return to play a concert with the symphony.
Dr. James Sitterly, one of the first young violinists to graduate from the UCSB program, will return to his alma mater in considerable style to play the solo part in one of his own compositions, Dreaming Gypsy, newly arranged for him by friend and fellow Hollywood musician Tim Simonec.

Sitterly, who is on the faculty at Los Angeles Harbor College, is one of the major concertmasters in the Los Angeles commercial recording industry. He lived for a number of years in Santa Barbara, and performed throughout the community with his band, Little Emo.

Sitterly and Dreaming Gypsy will be featured in the UCSB Symphony Orchestra concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Dubbed “Sacred and Profane,” the program also will include a performance of Felix Mendelssohn‘s seriously underrated Symphony No. 5 in D Major, Opus 107, Reformation and Fêtes from Claude Debussy‘s Nocturnes.

The city fathers of Augsburg asked, but did not commission, Mendelssohn to compose a symphony for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the “Confession of Augsburg,” a key event in the history of the Protestant Reformation. (Because of his father’s quarrels with his rabbi, Felix and his sisters were baptized and raised as Lutherans.) Mendelssohn’s completed work was not performed at the celebration because there wasn’t one (German politics).

When it was performed, two years later, it was not particularly well-received or well-reviewed. Paris thought it was “too learned”; London found it “too secular.” Yet the work is a masterpiece and a delight, notable for setting the great Lutheran hymn, A Mighty Fortress and the Dresden Amen (50 years before Wagner made it famous in Parsifal).

Tickets, sold at the door, are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. Click here for more information.

Student Recitals

There are also two student recitals this weekend.

At 4 p.m. Saturday in Karl Geiringer Hall (Music 1250), flautist Emilee Wong will play her bachelor of music senior recital, with the collaboration of faculty pianist Natasha Kislenko.

Wong will play Sergei Prokofiev‘s Sonata in D Major, Opus 94, Eugene Bozza‘s Image for Solo Flute, Eldin Burton’s Sonatina for Flute and Piano, and Traditional Folk Songs (performed by Wong on a Chinese bamboo flute, or “di zi,” accompanied by recordings of Li Li-Qun playing a hammer dulcimer, or “yang qing”).

At 2 p.m. Sunday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, cellist Hilary Clark will play her doctor of musical arts recital with, again, Kislenko backing her up. On the program are Debussy’s Sonate pour violoncelle et piano, Gaspar Cassado‘s Suite for Solo Cello and Sergei Rachmaninov‘s gorgeous, melancholy Sonata for Piano and Cello in G Minor.

Admission is free to both recitals.

Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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