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Gerald Carpenter: New York Philharmonic to Join Music Academy on Lobero Stage

The final concert in this summer’s Festival Artists Series — at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Lobero Theatre — will bear further witness to the harmonious partnership of the Music Academy of the West with the giant of the East, the New York Philharmonic, several of whose musicians will collaborate with the faculty artists and fellows in the performance of three chamber works.

The evening’s program will start with Richard Wagner’s birthday serenade for his wife, Cosima, the Siegfried Idyll (1870), played by Timothy Day (flute), Sherry Sylar* (oboe), Richie Hawley (clarinet), Benjamin Kamins (bassoon), Julie Landsman (horn), Paul Merkelo (trumpet), Kathleen Winkler and Jorja Fleezanis (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola), David Geber (cello), Timothy Cobb* (double bass) and select academy fellows (* denotes a member of the New York Philharmonic).

Also on the program are Gordon Langford’s Rhapsody for Trombone and Piano (1975), with Joseph Alessi* (trombone) and Margaret McDonald (piano), and Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet in D Minor, Op. 70, “Souvenir de Florence” (1890), with Frank Huang* and Kathleen Winkler (violins), Cynthia Phelps* and Richard O’Neill, (violas) and Robert deMaine and David Geber (cellos).

By now, I am assuming, perhaps optimistically, that anyone reading this is already familiar with the compositions by Wagner and Tchaikovsky and has heard many times the story of the musicians gathered on the staircase of the Wagner household and has also heard of the Russian master’s sojourn in the city of Michelangelo and Machiavelli — scene of so many coming-out parties.

Less of a household name, Gordon Langford (b. 1930) is a British composer, arranger and performer. Brass players and brass ensembles throughout the world know and admire him.

He also has a growing reputation for his orchestral compositions, winning a 1971 Ivor Novello award for his March from the Colour Suite.

Since its premiere, the Rhapsody for Trombone has done frequent yeoman’s work as a test piece for graduating trombonists.

The score for the brass soloist, whether pitted against a pianist or an orchestra, is graded “difficult,” and I’ll just bet it is.

That is not to say that any audience of any age or sophistication will have a tough time with it. It is as easy to listen to as the horn concertos of Richard Strauss or Robert Schumann.

Tickets for this concert are $10 (community access) and $42 and can be purchased at the Lobero box office (33 E. Canon Perdido St.), by phone at 805.963.0761 or 805.899.2222 or online at

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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