The Texas Tech University School of Music will host a concert featuring the University Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. this Sunday (Nov. 19) in Hemmle Recital Hall. Director of orchestral studies Philip Mann will conduct the orchestra’s selections.
The orchestra will join in the worldwide celebrations of the Leonard Bernstein centennial as they perform the beloved “Symphonic Dances” from the score to the groundbreaking musical “West Side Story,” written by Bernstein in collaboration with Stephen Sondheim. Excerpted from the complete musical, recognizable numbers in the “Symphonic Dances” include the boisterously brassy “Mambo,” the glistening and romanticized “Cha-cha,” the slickly jazzy “Cool” fugue, and the aggressive “Rumble.”
Bernstein’s modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” will square off on the orchestra’s program with the climactic and emotionally charged music that visionary Soviet composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote for his ballet adaptation of the same play. Prokofiev’s second suite from “Romeo and Juliet” contains wildly contrasting music that allows all of the orchestra’s sections to shine – from the familial dissonance of “The Montagues and Capulets” to the sprightly gamboling of “The Young Juliet” to the heart-wrenching finale of “Romeo at Juliet’s Grave.”
This powerful program will finish with American composer and clarinetist Stephanie Berg’s “Ravish and Mayhem,” inspired by a road trip daydream that she had about a “bacchanal-esque Arabian street festival.” Speaking of the tableau that is painted by her piece, Berg sees “…a person traveling from scene to scene, witnessing wild dancers, street performers, and amorous couples until the elephants arrive to announce the grand finale.”
Sunday's concert is free and open to the public.