SFA’s Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony to perform varied concert programs

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a concert showcasing varied music of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and modern composers when the student ensembles perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, in W.M. Turner Auditorium, Griffith Fine Arts Building, on the SFA campus.

The Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Chris Kaatz, assistant director of bands at SFA, opens the “Musical Eras Tour” concert performing works from different stylistic periods of music history.

Miranda de Bruin, SFA bands graduate teaching assistant from Muleshoe, will conduct “Old Churches” by Michael Colgrass.

“The Pulitzer Prize winner’s introspective work depicts the reverent atmosphere of a Medieval monastery,” Kaatz said. “The gradually evolving chant melody is set against murmuring aleatoric effects to create an intriguing, mystical journey into the old churches of the past.”

The first half of the concert closes with a concerto by Austrian composer Otto Schwarz featuring SFA Assistant Professor of Horn Dr. Andrea Denis. “Cape Horn” is a film-score-style programmatic depiction of the beauty, but also peril, of a sailing voyage around the treacherous southern tip of South America for which the piece is named. 

Also included in the Symphonic Band’s portion of the program are performances of “Terpsichorean Dances” by Jodie Blackshaw and Prelude and Fugue in B-flat by J. S. Bach, arranged by Roland Moehlmann.

The Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Dan Haddad, associate director of bands at SFA, will perform Ron Nelson’s “Courtly Airs and Dances,” a suite of Renaissance dances which were characteristic to five European countries during the 1500s. Three of the dances – Basse Dance, Pavane and Allemande – are meant to emulate the music of Claude Gervaise by drawing on the style of his music as well as the characteristics of other compositions from that period, according to Haddad.

Among other works to be performed by the Wind Symphony is “Metamorphosis (On an Original Cakewalk)” by Daniel Kallman. As the title implies, the main musical inspiration comes from the cakewalk, a late 19th and early 20th centuries dance of African American origin. The familiar rhythm of the cakewalk along with Kallman’s original tune frames the middle section of the work. Kallman describes this section as “disintegration, or metamorphosis, into a minimalist development where the instruments are formed in independent families, each repeating melodic or rhythmic fragments within their own metrical structures.” The xylophone maintains the constant cakewalk rhythm throughout the extended middle section while the music is built back before the restatement of the opening material and a brief coda.

Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.