Seven concerts to finish URI music season

Posted on
KINGSTON, R.I.—April 8, 2009— Seven back-to-back events running April 24 through 29 will wrap up the final six days of the music season at the University of Rhode Island. Offering a variety of choral and instrumental sounds and styles, the concerts range from grand scale (Concert Band plus University Chorus and Concert Choir) to intimate (Undergraduate Honors String Quartet). All events will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI. Admissions vary.

The final run of events begins on Friday, April 24 with a concert at 8 p.m. offering performances by the URI Concert Band, the University Chorus, and the URI Concert Choir. The Band, directed by Brian Cardany, will play Elfin Thunderbolt by Nancy Galbraith (b. 1951), and The Divine Comedy by Robert W. Smith (b. 1958), a four-movement piece inspired by Dante’s famous work. The Chorus, directed by Andrew Howell, will sing “Set Me As A Seal” by Rene Clausen, “Summer is A-Coming In,” arranged by R.V. Williams, and “The Blue Bird” by C.V. Stanford. Two more pieces, “The Road Not Taken” (from Frostiana) by Randall Thompson, and “Sicut Cervus” by G.P. da Palestrina, will be performed under the direction of Stephen Grueb, graduate assistant director. Pianist Michelle Beaton will accompany. The Concert Choir, directed by Mark Conley, will sing “Three Scottish Folksongs,” arranged by Mack Wilberg for chorus and piano, four hands. The two pianists will be Michelle Beaton and graduate student (and Concert Choir member) William Grueb. Stephen and William Grueb are twin brothers from North Kingstown. Admission is general audience, $8.00, students with ID, $2.00, with tickets available at the door.

The spring concert given annually by the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet, the university’s most prestigious student chamber ensemble, is on Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. This concert, which is free to the public, showcases the talents of the top string players in the university, chosen by auditions, who also must be top academic achievers to qualify for this select ensemble. Coached by Professor John Dempsey, they perform two full programs of advanced literature for the public each year along with other engagements. This year’s quartet members are violinists Sara Dillon, a senior from Cranston, and Bethany Sousa, a sophomore from Warren; violist Katie Miranda, a junior from Fall River, Mass.., and cellist Scott Benson II, a senior from Milford, N.H. Benson has been chosen to be in the ensemble each of the last three years, and makes his final appearance with the group in this concert. They will perform Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Minor Op. 18, No. 4, and Dvorak’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American.”

Sunday, April 26, brings a double-header: a concert by the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble at 3 p.m., and another concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring new works by students in the composition program. The Wind Ensemble, directed by Gene J. Pollart, consists of the most outstanding wind and percussion players at the university. They will perform John Adams’ joyful, exuberant composition, Short Ride In A Fast Machine; Celtic Hymns And Dances by Eric Ewazen; Incidental Suite, a three-movement work by Claude Smith; And The Multitude With One Voice Spoke by James Hosay (inspired by and depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech), and finally, Henry Fillmore’s 1933 work, His Honor March, one of the most popular marches of all time. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble has performed at various Music Educators and College Band Directors conferences, and the New England Wind Festival. They received high accolades and praise for their recent performance at the 2009 Eastern Division Music Educators National Conference. Admission is general audience, $8.00, students with ID, $2.00.

The evening concert of works by student composers is free. The program will include a string quartet (Donald Martin, violin I, Kristina Terpis, violin II, Brendan Hall, viola, and Scott Benson II, cello) performing Moonlight Tragedy, a work in three movements by Joseph Alberg, about the forbidden love between a werewolf and a human and its tragic results. Alberg is a junior from Cumberland. The concert will also include a piece by freshman Jane West of New Hartford, N.Y., featuring a string quartet with bass, viola and 2 violins; a work for solo clarinet, saxophone, and flute by North Kingstown graduate student Stephen Grueb; a song for guitar and soprano composed by junior Kate Bentley of Coventry, and a piece for flute and piano by freshman Jacquelin Glassie of Jamestown. Other works will be announced. The faculty advisors for the composition program are Eliane Aberdam, Joseph Parillo, and Geoffrey Gibbs.

The events on Monday and Tuesday, April 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., are also free. On Monday the public is invited to attend an Evening Convocation, where students perform for their peers and faculty. On Tuesday , the ten-member Percussion Ensemble directed by Ron Stabile will offer a concert of challenging and imaginative works featuring percussion instruments.

On Wednesday April 29 at 7:30 p.m., URI’s highly accomplished small vocal ensemble Lively Experiment will be performing works by Hugo Wolf, Morten Lauridsen and Peter Warlock, as well as other choral pieces from Twentieth Century American composers. There are fourteen singers in Lively Experiment this semester – six men and eight women, all top talent chosen by a rigorous audition process. Associate Professor Mark Conley, Director of Choral Activities at URI, directs the group. Admission for this concert is general audience, $8.00, students with ID, $2.00.

Seating for all concerts is on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert. For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.