West Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Campus March 3

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform on the Fairmont State University campus at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in Colebank Hall. Tickets are $30 for reserved seating, $15 for general admission and $8 for students. To order tickets, call (304) 367-4240.

The program will consist of Claude Debussy’s “Premiére Rhapsodie” featuring Robert Turizziani, clarinet; Camille Sain Saëns’ “Le carnaval des animaux,” featuring Vicki Berneking-Cavendish, piano, and Deborah Gross, piano; and Igor Stravinsky’s “Petroushka” (1947 version).

Turizziani writes in the program notes: “Debussy’s ‘Rhapsodie’is a free-flowing work that incorporates much of Debussy’s ideas about the structure of melody. In his early works, phrases were fairly four-square. They tended to a rhythmic regularity and predictable four bar structure. By the time he had completed Pelléas et Mélissande and La mer, Debussy’s concept of phrase structure had tossed off the more conventional ideas of his youth for a melodic style that was both verbal and ambiguous.”

About “Carnaval,” Turizziani writes: “The fourteen short movements of Saint Saëns’ ‘Carnaval’ take the audience on a very tongue-in-cheek zoological tour. The animals we come to know are lions, chickens, quick animals and the ass, tortoises, the elephant, kangaroos, fish, ‘personalities with long ears,’ the cuckoo, birds, pianists, fossils, the swan, and a grand compilation of the menagerie to conclude.”

About “Petroushka,” he writes: “Unlike (the earlier) ‘Firebird,’ which is much closer to Stravinsky’s student past in terms of style, 'Petroushka’ makes a dramatic leap into the kind of writing that would eventually become immediately recognizable as Stravinsky’s. Rhythms are more varied in this score, the instrumentation—always brilliant—is now both brilliant and original, and a sense of humor is clearly audible, often overlaid on the pathos of the scenario.  The story tells a tale of Petroushka, a puppet in a country fair, who comes to life. He struggles with evil bullies, plays jokes, falls in love, and eventually dies."

Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, officially began his duties as the ninth conductor in the WVSO’s history on July 1, 2001. From 1997-2007, Cooper served as Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, where he gave almost 600 performances with that orchestra, appearing to critical acclaim on all the major series. Cooper is also Artistic Director of a summer festival, the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, N.Y.

“This program began out of an exploration of the influence of French music on the Western World’s musical culture,” Cooper writes in the program notes.

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra is West Virginia’s premier performing arts organization, presenting more than 50 concerts annually to audiences throughout the Mountain State. Programs include Symphonic, ZMM Pops and City National Bank Family Concert Series, performances by the Montclaire String Quartet, collaborations with the Charleston Ballet and other state arts organizations and a national award-winning education program. The Symphony’s home is the world-class Maier Foundation Performance Hall at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston.