West Michigan Symphony opens its 2016-17 masterworks season with a concert that features classic works by Respighi and Stravinsky, plus a new piece by its composer-in-residence, Austin Wintory.
The Nov. 11 concert will open with “Epic!” composed by Austin Wintory and commissioned expressly for the West Michigan Symphony. A nod to film scores, the piece parodies the fascination with the “epic” music in today’s literature. Wintory characterizes it as “A love letter to that culture, celebrating the diverse, highly energized stream of information we live in today.”
Next, the orchestra, led by Music Director Scott Speck, will tackle Igor Stravinsky’s epic “Firebird Suite.” Written for the ballet of the same name, the scenario draws on Russian folklore; the score blending the orchestral wizardry Stravinsky had learned as a student of Rimsky-Korsakov with the vitality of Russian folk music. Later Stravinsky would create three different concert versions of the suite, most popular being the second, introduced in 1919, which is the version the West Michigan Symphony will present at the Nov. 11 concert.
The second half of the concert features two of Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s epic works from his classic Roman Trilogy, which celebrates Rome’s history and culture. Also a student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Respighi’s “Fountains of Rome” depicts four of Rome’s most iconic fountains, each captured at different times of the day. “Pines of Rome” describes four locations in the city, each of which has historical and cultural significance. Famous for being one of the first orchestral works in history to include electronics in its orchestration, “Pines of Rome” still honors the composer’s instruction to play a recording of a nightingale at the end of the third movement.
This concert marks the beginning of the symphony’s 5-concert masterworks season. “The best way to enjoy the full concert experience is to invest in a season ticket,” Natalie Carmolli, WMS Director of Marketing said. “Season ticket holders return to the same seats for each concert and forge friendships with the people who sit near them.” She added, “Those who attend our concerts say what they love most is escaping their busy schedules, relaxing and enjoying great music in the company of friends.”
Masterworks season tickets for adults start at $82, single tickets start at $20, student tickets are $7. Performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m. at the Frauenthal Center in downtown Muskegon. Tickets can be purchased by calling the WMS box office at 231.726.3231 x223, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue or online at westmichigansymphony.org.