Featured image for post: Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 Spring Concert Planned for April 14

Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 Spring Concert Planned for April 14

WILSON, N.C. — April 8, 2024 — Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-2024 season will conclude with its Spring Concert on Sunday, April 14, at 5 p.m. in the Kennedy Family Theatre on campus.

With conductor Christopher Ellis leading the symphony orchestra, the spring concert will feature violinist Jacob Roege performing W.A. Mozart’s graceful Violin Concerto No. 2 in D. Major, K. 211. The symphony will also bring to life Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds in E-flat Major, K. 297b with four soloists from the Cardinal Ensemble.Cardinal Ensemble

“The Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds is a concerto for oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, accompanied by orchestra,” shared Ellis. “The soloists for this distinctive selection will include two of the symphony’s veteran musicians, Robert Burkett (oboe) and Brenda Balazs-Rezlek (bassoon), along with Cary Byrd (horn), who performed with the Symphony during a previous “Love the Symphony” event, and Nathan Olawsky (clarinet), who is making his debut performance with the symphony this spring.”

Reserving seats online in advance is preferred. Please visit https://www.barton.edu/cultural-arts/symphony/spring-concert/ to purchase your tickets. Tickets are $15 per person. Season ticket holders, who have not used their tickets this year, should email Bonnie Schiavo at blloschiavo@barton.edu to reserve your seats.

About the Soloists —  

Brenda Balazs-Reylek (bassoon) earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from UNCSA where she studied with Mark Popkin. As a freelance bassoonist, she plays and subs with many local groups:  The Cardinal Ensemble, Tar River Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Symphony, Fayetteville Symphony, Wilmington Symphony and Ballet, and Carolina Philharmonic. She also has been a member of the Barton College/Wilson Symphony since 2019.

Robert Burkett (oboe) is a founding member, assistant director, and principal oboist of the Trent River Chamber Orchestra of New Bern. Burkett has performed with the North Carolina Theater Company and has played for the national tours of “My Fair Lady,” “Wicked,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” He has performed as a featured soloist with the Symphony of Hope in Greenville, Barton College/Wilson Symphony, Fayetteville Symphony, Greenville Choral Society, Hartsville Civic Chorale in S.C., and the Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus. As a clinician and instructor, Burkett has given master classes at UNC Greensboro, East Carolina University, and UNC Wilmington. He teaches oboe and bassoon students throughout the state and across the southeastern U.S., via his studios in Greenville and his online oboe and bassoon studio. Burkett attended East Carolina University, studying with Bo Newsome, and the University of South Carolina, studying with Dr. Rebecca Nagel.

Carrigan “Cary” Byrd, Jr.(horn) has been an active musician and music educator for more than 35 years. A native of South Carolina, he began his horn studies with Robert Pruzin at The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in music education with a Certificate in Performance and a Minor in French. He received a master’s degree in music performance from Louisiana State University, studying with Bruce Heim (National Symphony Orchestra) and Seth Orgel (Syracuse Symphony and The Atlantic Brass Quintet). Byrd has held positions with The South Carolina Philharmonic, The Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony, Louisiana Symphonietta, and the Natchez Opera Orchestra. He has also performed with orchestras, bands, opera companies, ballets, and music theater in ensembles throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast. Byrd is a founding member of The Sterling Chamber Players (Columbia, S.C.). Also, an accomplished organist, he currently holds the organ seat for First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, under the direction of Mark Woodcock. Byrd makes his home in Raleigh and is the Director of Development for North Carolina Opera.

Nathan Olawsky (clarinet) grew up on his family’s farm in rural South Dakota, where his family surrounded him with music from an early age. While he began his musical studies on violin and piano at the age of five, it would be several years later before he picked up the clarinet. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and a master’s degree from UNC Greensboro, both in clarinet performance. Olawsky has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Opera Wilmington, the Winston Salem Symphony, Carolina Philharmonic, and as a guest artist at the 2005 International Clarinet Association Conference in Tokyo. He has been a member of the Fayetteville Symphony since 2011 and is also a member of the Cardinal Ensemble and the Triangle Pride Band. Olawsky resides in Durham and works at UNC Chapel Hill as a database analyst.

Jacob Roege (violin) was born in Okinawa, Japan, to an Air Force family, and he spent his early childhood all around the world until his family settled in the Northern Virginia area. He studied with Dr. Wanchi Huang at James Madison University and received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Industry in 2009. Immediately following, he was accepted to Michigan State University where he studied under I-Fu Wang and received his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance in 2011. From classical to video game music, orchestral to chamber music, teaching small children to collegiate and pre-professional students, Roege has a varied career and expertise in performance, music education, and music administration. He has made his home in eastern North Carolina in the Greenville area, while continuing to perform and travel domestically and internationally. Roege is the second violinist of the Triforce Quartet, as well as Principal Second Violin of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.

About the Conductor —

Christopher Ellis began studying the violin at the age of 10 in a public-school classroom in his hometown of Farmville. His early private teachers include Dee Braxton-Pellegrino and Paul Topper. Ellis continued his study with Topper at East Carolina University, and he later earned a Master of Music degree at Florida State University. Ellis has been a member of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and the Tar River Orchestra, and he has performed with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He has done solo performances with Beaufort County Community Orchestra, New Bern Civic Strings, and the Barton College / Wilson Symphony Orchestra. Ellis teaches privately in Wilson, Rocky Mount, Greenville, and Goldsboro, and he is a violin/viola instructor at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville.

Earlier this academic year, he performed a recital at Kennedy Family Theatre on the Barton College Campus that included Partita in E Major by Bach and Sonatas K.304 and K.526 for Piano and Violin by Mozart. Ellis has conducted the Beaufort County Community Orchestra since 2005. Serving as concertmaster with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony from 2002-2023, and he was named conductor the symphony orchestra in 2023.