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Gerald Carpenter: Westmont College, Music Club Offer Weekend Concerts

Student soloists and the Westmont Orchestra will play their Orchestra Concerto Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in Hahn Hall at Music Academy of the West, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, in the First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave., Santa Barbara.

The purely orchestral part of the program consists of John Williams's “The Cowboys" Overture," "Hoe Down" from Aaron Copland's ballet, Rodeo (1942), Felix Mendelssohn's "String Symphony No. 10 In b-minor (1823)," and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," arranged by Dan Goeller.

The concertante performances will be cellist Tim Beccue taking the solo role in Dmitri Shostakovich’s "Cello Concerto No. 1 in Eb-Major, Opus 107 (1959)," while violinist Sierra Farrar and violist Erik Fauss will solo in Max Bruch’s "Concerto in e-minor for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, Opus 88 (1911)."

The Mendelssohn string symphony is the shortest of the 12 string symphonies he wrote between 1821 and 1823, aged 12-14.

There is nothing in the symphony to suggest immaturity, and something like it could have been written any time in the previous hundred years. It is more like a baroque trio sonata than a symphony. It is in one movement, with three distinct sections: slow-fast-faster.

The Shostakovich concerto is one of the glories of the literature, and Beccue must be a very gifted cellist to tackle such a formidable work.

The Bruch concerto is gorgeous. Written for clarinet and viola originally, it is often performed. as here, with a violin instead of a clarinet.
"We are thrilled to be able to present this concert after all the challenges of starting the semester this spring," said Michael Shasberger, Westmont professor of music.

"The students have rallied and practiced to present on a shorter rehearsal span. We are playing the "Cowboys" and "Hoe-Down" as we build our American repertoire for this summers’ tour to Ireland and the U.K," he said.

"This spring, we will present the Irish and English components of that tour concert with music by Stanford, O’Boyle and Vaughan Williams," he said.
Tickets to the Westmont concerts are $10 general admission (students are free), and may be purchased at the door. For more information, please contact the music department, 565-6040 or email [email protected]

Also over the weekend, the Santa Barbara Music Club will offer another of its sparkling free concerts at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

The program is devoted to compositions for woodwinds, strings and piano.

The ensemble Sonos5winds (Andrea DiMaggio, flute; Joanne Kim, clarinet; Trey Farrell, oboe; Andy Radford, bassoon; John Mason, horn) will perform Samuel Barber’s sublime "Summer Music, Opus 31 (1956)" and Paul Valjean’s "Dance Suite for Woodwind Quintet (1955)."

Then, violinist Nicole McKenzie will play Ellen Taffe Zwilich’s "Fantasy for Solo Violin (2014)," followed by flautists Cynthia Vong and Adriane Hill, with pianist Christopher Davis, playing Ian Clarke’s "maya (2000)," Hill, Davis and clarinetist Amanda Kritzberg performing Camille Saint-Saëns’s "Tarantella, Opus 6 (1857)," and concluding with Hill and Davis playing Albert Franz Doppler’s "Fantaisie pastorale hongroise, Opus 26 (1870)."
Most musicians believe the "Dance Suite" to be Valjean's only extent composition. He wrote it while a student at the Eastman School, studying bassoon. Upon graduation, however, he turned to dance, becoming a noted dancer and choreographer.

Zwilich wrote her "Fantasy" on a commission from the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, to be employed as a compulsory work for the semi-finalists.

"Any work for solo violin presents technical challenges, but it was my aim in writing 'Fantasy for Solo Violin' to challenge the musical imagination and dramatic impulses of the violinist as well," Zwilich wrote.

"For me, the best artist is not just a virtuoso but a creative spirit in communion with the music," she wrote.

According to Clarke, the "maya" of the title is the Hindu concept of illusion, not the advanced civilization that dominated the Yucatan et environs for most of the pre-Columbian millennium. It is based on "Passage (1986)" by Clarke, David Hicks and Simon Painter, and was rewritten and arranged by Clarke in 2000.

For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit

— 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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