Festival of Chamber Orchestras Planned

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fairmont State's fourth Festival of Chamber Orchestras to be held during the week of June 12 includes three orchestras rehearsing and performing.

The professional Festival Chamber Orchestra will play three concerts, the first at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, in the Turley Center Ballroom; the second at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, in the Turley Center Ballroom; and the third at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at Prickett

s Fort. The Youth Orchestra and Prep Orchestra will combine for one concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, in the Turley Center Ballroom, and members of the orchestra will have an opportunity to play with the Festival Orchestra for the June 17 concert.

The June 14 concert, conducted by the festival's Artistic Director John Ashton, will feature Cheryl Priebe Bishkoff, oboist, performing Benedetto Marcello's Concerto in C minor. Bishkoff, who has been described as "a musician of incredible artistry" by the Richmond News Leader.

Her recent appearances include performances of J.S. Bach's "Oboe d'amore Concerto" at the Bach and Beyond Festival and Beethoven chamber music at the renowned Newport Music Festival. She is currently in her ninth season as principal oboe of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. In addition, she is also principal oboe of the New Hampshire Symphony and the Fredonia (N.Y.) Chamber Players and assistant and principal of the Bethlehem (Pa.) Orchestra. Before her appearances in Rhode Island, Bishkoff served as acting principal of the Buffalo Philharmonic and as principal in many other orchestras, including the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony, the Lancaster (Ohio) Festival Orchestra, the Bedford Festival Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling (W.Va.) Symphony and the Virginia Symphony.

Other works on the program will include "Harmony," a poem for the Chamber Orchestra by award winning composer Andrzej Panufnik, an early symphony by Mozart and the "Italian" Symphony of Felix Mendelssohn.

The June 17 concert by the Festival Orchestra will feature Pittsburgh Symphony hornist Zachary Smith playing the 1950 Concerto for Horn and Orchestra by Paul Hindemith.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Falls Church, Va., Smith began horn lessons at age 12. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1982 and held the position of third horn with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra from 1983 through 1988. From 1988 to 1994, Smith held the title of principal horn with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra and most recently was a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In September 1996, Smith joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal horn. He has appeared as guest soloist for both the Savannah and Jacksonville symphonies, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra at age 18.

Other works on the concert will include Felix Mendelssohn's Overture to William Shakespeare's"A Midsummer Night's Dream;" a rather obscure work by Henry Purcell, "The Gordian Knot Untied;" and the Symphony No. 60 "Il Distratto" by Franz Joseph Haydn.

During the festival the 40 plus members of the youth orchestras will have an opportunity to take a theory class offered by John Ashton. The class will include a survey of Western music notation and scale and harmonic development from the 10th century on, and will provide a foundation for any of the young musicians who might be considering a career in music. The youth orchestras will be conducted by M. Todd Wilson, assisted by violinist Jenee Wright.

Wilson graduated magna cum laude from Fairmont State in 1990 and was granted numerous academic and performance awards. He was a graduate assistant at Ohio University from which he received his Master of Music degrees in Performance and Education. While at Ohio University, Wilson was endowed with the Kinder Orchestral Fellowship. He came to Kanawha County at the invitation of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra as part of the artist in residence program. He served as conductor of the West Virginia Youth Orchestra Strings from 1996 to 2002, and he currently continues his work with young orchestral musicians as the conductor of the Capitol High School Orchestra. Wilson performs with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Seneca Chamber Orchestra. He is a frequent performer, adjudicator and clinician in the Kanawha Valley and Ohio Valley region.

Wright is a native of Honduras, Central America. She holds an M.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Southern Mississippi and a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the same institution. Currently she is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh in Applied Linguistics. Wright was trained in violin performance at the Victoriano Lopez Escuela de Musica, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. As a performer she has been a member of various orchestras including the Honduras National Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Mobile Opera, Pensacola Symphony, Mississippi Symphony, Natchez Opera, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Fairmont State University-Community Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Opera, Gulfcoast Symphony, Biloxi Opera and the Meridian Symphony. She has also performed with Luciano Pavarotti, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Cole, Bobby Vinton and Robert Plant/Jimmy Page.