For most of us, “classical music” brings to mind works of the quintessential European composers – the Beethovens, Bachs, the Mozarts. Yet, American contributions to the genre are just as deserving of attention. In this vein, the Raleigh Civic Symphony at NC State directed by Dr. Peter Askim will spotlight American works on November 19th with Rhapsody in (Red, White) & Blue: Celebrating American Composers.
The program will be a well-balanced mix of classic and new works, with George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring guest soloist Clara Yang (UNC Faculty Pianist) strongly representing the former. The Symphony will then perform Aaron Copland’s “Outdoor Overture”, which is also canonical. The program will then move into the 21st century, with “Rainbow Body” by contemporary composer Christopher Theofanidis.
The Civic Symphony performs world premieres that are specially commissioned at every concert, and this will be no different. The afternoon will be capstoned by the premiere of a piece by New York composer Jessica Meyer titled “Actions Speak.” “Jessica is an amazing all-around musician, and her music for diverse instruments and ensembles is expressive, insightful and connects with the listener at a deep level. Though she is widely know in many capacities, I was excited to be able to commission her very first large orchestra piece. It’s amazing to hear what she has composed for us, when she has been given the incredible canvas of a symphonic orchestra to work with,” said Dr. Askim. Ms. Meyer, also a renowned violist, regularly premieres pieces for solo viola, championing new works alongside composing her own.
“I think it is an interesting time to think about what America is. There is great American music that really gets at different parts of the American experience,” said Dr. Askim of his decision to host a concert of all American music. “I’m really looking forward to sharing this music with the orchestra and the audience – music which has diverse influences and points of view, but which is uniquely American. The orchestra really shines in this music!”