The Western Carolina University Wind Ensemble will present a 1960s-themed concert on Tuesday, Oct. 22, in WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.
The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public and musical selections are connected to WCU’s campuswide interdisciplinary learning theme for the 2013-14 academic year, “1960s: Take It All In.”
Under the direction of John T. West, the 57-member ensemble will perform Symphony No. 3 by Vittorio Giannini, a composer and music administrator who served as the first president of the N.C. School of the Arts. The symphony, written in 1958 for the Duke University Band and published in 1961, serves as a type of lead-in to the turbulent decade of the 1960s, said West, director of bands and associate dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. “Romantic” in character, the piece follows the standard four-movement symphonic format and has beautiful melodies throughout, he said.
Also on the program is Warren Benson’s “The Leaves Are Falling,” a somber and moving work with hints of minimalism – a movement that wouldn’t really take hold until later in the decade, said West. Written in 1963, the piece was Benson’s artistic reaction to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that year.
In addition, the ensemble will perform Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Adagio para Orquesta de Instrumentos de Viento (Adagio for Wind Orchestra.)” Composed in 1966, the piece calls for a smaller ensemble of orchestral winds and showcases numerous soloists. Also, Dillon Ingle, graduate assistant conductor, will conduct Clifton Williams’ march “The Sinfonians,” which was composed in 1960.
Another large-scale work on the program is Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husa’s landmark piece “Music for Prague 1968.”
“Written as a response to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia with its memorable images of tanks rolling down the streets of Prague, Husa pulled out all of the stops in creating an intensely emotional work, full of anger even outrage,” said West. “It also contains, however, moments of optimism for the future of the Czech people.”
WCU’s 2013-14 1960s-focused interdisciplinary learning theme is intended to encourage research, reflection and discussion on the decade’s political upheaval, scientific accomplishments, extensions of pop culture, artistic expression, feminism and civil rights.