Symphony taps into elements
LaGRANGE — The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra plans to breathe fresh air into the ears of music lovers at Callaway Auditorium on Tuesday.
The LSO plans to launch its Elemental concert series on Tuesday with the first concert of this season, “Air.” The concert series will run through April and will take listeners through both contemporary and classical composers.
“Air, fire, light, water, and earth – it makes them stop and think … and go, ‘Hey, let’s read a little more about it,’” said LSO board president Gail Daniel Browne. “… (Conductor Richard Prior) is doing a world premiere of a composition by him, and we are having an internationally known flutist (guest soloist Jonathan Keeble) come in, and we have found out that Richard’s own father and grandfather were professional flutists. So he is honoring his father with this one, who is still alive and in England.”
This is Prior’s second season with the LSO, and members hope he will breathe new life into the program and attract a younger crowd to the symphony’s concerts. He has received numerous awards including the 2008 Harvy Philips Award for Excellence in Composition at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Emory University’s Winship Senior Faculty Award in 2009 and the 2011 Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.
“(Keeble) plays around the world with symphonies, but this is the third piece of music that Richard has written for him to debut, so they have a long-lasting, professional, musical relationship – friendship,” said LSO Executive Director Raylene Carter. “… So for the orchestra members it is really kind of a neat experience because you’re the first (to perform the song). … (The conductor) is hearing for the first time what his piece of music sounds like with a full orchestra. He’s heard it in his head … but until they step on that stage and play it all the way through without stopping, that is really the first time he hears brought to life what he envisioned in his own mind. … And to watch their face the first time they see their vision become reality is really a great experience for these musicians.”
In addition to Prior’s piece, the orchestra will also perform William Walton’s “Spitfire Prelude and Fugue,” which was written as part of a 1942 war film about the Spitfire fighter planes of World War II.
“Movies are made with classical things that are in total or in part as their composition, so he thinks – just like air, like water, like the earth and everything – it is a part of who we are,” said Carter. “How we express things that just can’t be expressed in words, so that you can say things in music that you just can’t find the words to say, and he thinks it helps to find the things that define us, and it helps move us as humans. Kind of collectively for something that we can gather around, so to him – and I think to our musicians – music is just as essential as all those other things in terms of their life.”
Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” is expected to close the concert. The composition of “Enigma” makes great use of the airiest instruments of all, woodwinds, but listeners may find that the strings are what actually give the piece much of its airy feeling.
“All of the instruments play differently, and … I could make an argument that they all use air to breath to be able to play,” said Carter. “Believe it or not, even though they might be playing a violin or something else, how they breath while they are playing, it makes a huge difference.”
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Callaway Auditorium on Dallis Street at Forrest Avenue. For tickets or more information, contact the LSO office at 706-882-0662, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lagrangesymphony.org.