Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 22, 2002 -- The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Sara Edgerton, will present an "Americana" Concert March 12 in Academic Auditorium.

This subscription series concert will feature the music of 20th century American composers Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and Ferde Grofe. The concert also will showcase two outstanding Southeast music students as soloists with the orchestra: Michelle Suhr of Farrar, Mo., violin, and Christina Van Nostrand of Cape Girardeau, flute, who are the winners of this year's Symphony Soloists Competition.

"This exciting concert will celebrate the themes and spirit of 'Americana' in symphonic music," Edgerton said.

The concert will begin with Aaron Copland's celebrated "Outdoor Overture." Copland's life spanned much of the 20th century and his output is quintessentially American in tone and subject, from his famous ballets "Rodeo" and "Billy the Kid" to such orchestral works as the "Lincoln Portrait." The "Outdoor Overture" was commissioned in 1938 by the New York High School of Music and Art. It is rhapsodic in form, with a series of appealing themes and motives which showcase various sections of the orchestra. In common with much of Copland's music, it is rhythmically exciting and harmonically spacious, conjuring up the broad vistas of America. Though not overtly patriotic, its tone of optimism and youth is distinctly American in sentiment.

Also on the program will be the "Mississippi Suite" by American composer Ferde Grofe. Grofe is perhaps best known for his orchestration of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"; he had a long and productive career writing film scores, orchestrating music, and composing several descriptive suites for symphony orchestra. Grofe's "Mississippi Suite" is a programmatic work in several movements, which takes the listener on a virtual boat tour down the Mississippi River. Subtitles of movements include "Huckleberry Finn," "Old Creole Days," and "Mardi Gras," which conjures up the "New Orleans Blues."

American composer Charles Ives is credited with being the first American composer to write in a distinctly original and American style. His musical influences include his childhood memories of marching bands (his father was a bandmaster), and a fierce New England individualism which led him to compose music that was decades ahead of its time. "Variations on America" was originally composed for organ, and later orchestrated by the great American composer William Schumann. The patriotic song, "America," is brilliantly presented in a series of exciting variations for symphonic orchestra.

Also on the program, Southeast students Michelle Suhr, a graduate violin student, and Christina Van Nostrand, a sophomore flute student, will solo with the symphony. The two students were joint winners of this years' Symphony Orchestra Soloists Competition, and they will perform works by Kabalevsky and Griffes with the symphony on this concert.

Suhr currently teaches fifth and sixth grade at Salem Lutheran School in Farrar, Mo., and she is a student pursuing a master of music education degree at Southeast Missouri State University. Her undergraduate degree is from Concordia University in Seward, Neb.

Van Nostrand is a sophomore music major at Southeast, pursuing a double major in music education and music performance. She is a graduate of Cape Central High School.

Tickets for this concert are now on sale. They can be obtained by calling the Performing Arts Box Office at (573) 651-2265.

Tickets are available at $10 (preferred seating), $6 (general admission), $5 (faculty, staff, and senior citizens), and $4 (students). Tickets also will be available at the door on the night of the concert. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, March 12. Southeast Missouri State University and the Department of Music are grateful for generous sponsorship of this concert series by Commerce Bank.


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