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The Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra
Raul Munguia - Artistic Director & Conductor

2013-14 Season

Sunday, April 27th, 2014
~~ 4:00 p.m. ~~
Memorial Auditorium

Concert program (PDF)
Concert poster
Related Links

Concert Graphic

"American Inspiration"
April 27th, 2014
Program Notes

An Outdoor Overture

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

I. Maestoso-Allegro

Last SEKSO Performance: Sep. 27, 2009
First Performed: Dec, 1938 - High School of Music and Art, NYC

Program notes are posted as they become available.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, percussion, timpani, and strings. [2.pic,2,2,2-4,2,3,0-per,timp-strings]

Symphony No.9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (New World)

Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)

I. Adagio-Allegro molto
II. Largo
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace
IV. Allegro con fuoco

Last SEKSO Performance: Oct. 8, 1995
First Performed: Dec 16, 1893, Carnegie Hall (PDF)
Commissioned by: the New York Philharmonic

Dvořák left his native Czechoslovakia to accept a position for three years as head of a new National Conservatory of Music in New York. He had always felt that all great art music must grow from the soil of native folk music. While here in America, he encouraged his students to turn to their own folk music, particularly Negro spirituals and Native American Indian melodies. He wrote the "New World" Symphony with that idea in mind. He stated that he did not actually use any of these melodies, but rather wrote original themes embodying the peculiarities of these ethnic melodies. Many people remark on the similarity between the third theme of the first movement to the well-known spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." The famous English Hom solo in the second movement was apparently inspired by the funeral of Minnehaha in Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." The Scherzo was to suggest the scene at the feast in "Hiawatha" where the Indians dance. In the final movement Dvorak recalls themes from each of the earlier movements.

- C A Martin

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion, timpani, and strings.
[ 2[1.2/pic]2[1.2/Eh]22-423[1.2.bass]1-tmp,perc,str ]

Improvised Violin Concerto

Mark O'Connor (1961- )

I. Fire
II. Air
III. Water
IV. Earth
V. Faith

First Performed: Mar 6th, 2011, Boston Youth Sy

The Improvised Violin Concerto unites two disciplines: symphonic composition and improvisational performance art. It is the first concerto to feature an entirely improvised solo part over a through-composed orchestral score.

The piece adheres to three basic principles:

First, the orchestra - a large body of musicians trained to play in perfect synchronization - must not improvise. I cannot envision designing a stable, long-form piece around orchestral improvisation. However, I do score ambient sounds and noise effects, which sound improvisational and thus serve as a link between the orchestra and the soloist.

Second, the violin part must be entirely improvised. Even if a small portion of the solo part were composed, the piece would not live up to its title. The violin must be unbridled, free to introduce its own ideas at any time. And these ideas, and every note therein, will be different in each performance.

Third, the orchestra must introduce and develop themes to provide form and logic. Its score must be essentially symphonic. This affords the violin the ultimate freedom to experiment with and respond to the themes and other musical materials.

To emphasize this sense of freedom, I allow for extreme dynamic variation in the solo part. With the aid of sound reinforcement (via P.A.) and effects pedals, the violin can negotiate even the loudest tutti sections punctuated by fortissimo brass. On the other hand, the violin has the right to remain silent in the softest moments.

To avoid excessive conflict between the violin and the upper-register orchestral instruments (e.g., trumpets, flutes, oboes), I assign much of the thematic material to lower-register instruments like the bass clarinet, the English horn, the bassoon, and the trombone.

At over 30 minutes in length, The Improvised Violin Concerto features the longest improvisation ever called for in a classical setting. To perform it well is a daunting task.

Given the length of the piece, I dedicate each of the five movements to basic, widely interpretable elements rather than specific thoughts or images. "Fire," the first movement, is passionate, intense, and otherworldly - an excellent launching point. "Air," the second movement, stirs up a new kind of energy that extinguishes the embers remaining from the first movement. The playful and jazzy third movement, "Water," introduces the human condition. The fourth movement, "Earth," invokes blues, rock, and heavy metal to convey what I call the "salt of the Earth." This movement represents the relationship between Earth and humanity.

The final movement manifests what I call the fifth element, "Faith." It is an invention of humanity, a celebration of the human spirit. After a series of hymnic chord sequences, the movement proceeds through Southern Gospel refrains before morphing into Gospel hoedowns and Buzzard Lope dances. It culminates in a throw-down Jubilee.

The sheet music for the solo violin part contains chord symbols (like BAug, Gmaj7, and so on) rather than notes. These chord symbols indicate the harmonies in the orchestra. Otherwise, the solo part contains standard types of information: time signatures, measure numbers, rehearsal letters, tempi, and descriptions of individual sections (like "Impending inferno" and "Evaporation") that inform the soloist's ideas and mood.

- Mark O'Connor

Scored for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings. [2222-4222-tmp-str]

Mark O'Connor, violin

Mark O'Connor, violin

Early years:

At age 13, he was the youngest person ever to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championships competing against all ages, amateur and professional. Thirty-seven years later, his record still stands. Mr. O'Connor is still the only person to ever win national titles (open to all ages) on fiddle, bluegrass guitar and mandolin (Weiser, ID; Winfield, Kansas; Kerrville, TX). Mr. O'Connor won an unprecedented six Country Music Association Musician Of The Year Awards in a row in Nashville, TN. At age 17 Mr. O'Connor played guitar as a member of one of the greatest acoustic string bands of the 1970s, the David Grisman Quintet. At age 19 he payed violin and guitar alongside Steve Morse as a member of one of the greatest rock-fusion instrumental bands of the 1980s, The Dregs. In his twenties he was a member of one of the greatest acoustic bands of all time with four of the greatest players on their respective instruments, Strength in Numbers (with Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer). He also assembled two of the greatest Country bands of all time in 1989 and 1990 - The American Music Shop house band and New Nashville Cats. During his twenties, Mr. O'Connor became the most in demand session musician of any instrument and in any genre for a 3-year period, appearing on more top ten hits in the country, recording over 500 albums, and recording with everyone - Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Randy Travis, The Judds, the list is too long to print.

Educational work:

Mr. O'Connor regularly conducts three-day residencies, giving lectures, demonstrations, and workshops at a variety of music programs around the country. Some of his recent hosts include The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Berklee College of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University, University of Maryland, University Of Texas, Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Tanglewood, and Aspen Summer Festival. Mr. O'Connor was Artist-in-Residence at UCLA for the 2008-2009 season. He currently serves as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Miami. Mr. O'Connor is the founder and president of the internationally recognized Mark O'Connor String Camp, held each summer at ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

[more biographical info at the O'Connor web site]

Related Links

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841-1904)

Mark O'Connor (1961- )

Fiddle Links:

Violin Links: