Barton College/Wilson Symphony’s Fall Concert to Feature Guest Soloists

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WILSON, N.C. — The Barton College/Wilson Symphony will present its annual Fall Concert on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m. in Barton College’s Kennedy Family Theatre. The orchestra, conducted by music director Mark N. Peterson, will feature two gifted soloists performing two beloved baroque concertos. Noted pianist Jeremy Thompson returns to Barton for his third appearance with the orchestra, this time playing the profound “Concerto in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra” BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Also featured will be Greenville resident guitarist John Porter playing Vivaldi’s delightful “Concerto in D for Guitar and Orchestra” RV 93. The orchestra will also present Mozart’s celebrated Serenade “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” K 525, and a tribute to the Mantovani Orchestra with a special arrangement of the classic hit “Charmaine.”

Admission for the fall orchestra performance will be $10 at the door or by season ticket. All students within the community, as well as faculty, staff, and students of Barton College, will be admitted free of charge. For additional information, please contact Sheila Wilson at 252-399-6309 or email: spwilson@barton.edu.

Guest Soloists

A native of the small fishing village of Dipper Harbour in New Brunswick, Canada, Thompson has performed throughout North America and Europe, thrilling audiences with his virtuosity and the emotional and intellectual depth with which he performs. His studies at McGill University in Montreal included study with Marina Mdivani, who was a student of Emil Gilels. Thompson was honored with two of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral fellowships to pursue his doctoral studies, and, in 2005, he earned a Doctorate of Music in piano performance. During this time, Thompson performed with such orchestras as the Saint Petersburg State Academic Orchestra, the Saratov Philharmonic Orchestra, the Georgian National Orchestra, and the McGill Symphony Orchestra, as well as appearing extensively in recital performances, including a Debut Atlantic tour of Eastern Canada and three trips to the former Soviet Union.

Porter is a gifted guitar performer and teacher. After graduating from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2006, he moved to Greenville to pursue his graduate studies in classical guitar at East Carolina University. Porter has studied with Joey Ikner, Dr. Glenn Caluda, and Dr. Elliot Frank. He has also performed in master classes with William Kanengiser, Bruce Holtzman, Ricardo Cobo, and Dusan Bogdanovic, to name a few. He has also studied Suzuki training with Andrea Canon and Bill Kossler. During his residency in Greenville, Porter has maintained a private studio where he teaches Suzuki guitar and traditional classical guitar students. His students have been recognized with top prizes in several youth division guitar competitions. Porter performs both as a soloist and a chamber musician, and he is often invited to guest teach at various guitar events, most recently at ECU’s internationally recognized Guitar Summer Workshop. In addition to maintaining his private studio, Porter also currently teaches at Barton College and Chowan University.

Program Notes

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was often commissioned to compose music for light entertainment, presented at evening parties given by Vienna’s wealthy elite. Since he was always in need of quick money, he was usually happy to fulfill the request and would compose a serenade, known in German as “Nachtmusik.” This must have been the case with the famous “Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” for in August of 1787 while he was busy composing “Don Giovanni,” Mozart stopped just long enough to write this perfectly sublime piece of music. The work was not published until about 1827, long after Mozart’s death, by Johann André in Offenbach am Main, Germany. It had been sold to this publisher in 1799 by Mozart’s widow Constanze, part of a large bundle of her husband’s compositions. Today, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” is one of the world’s most beloved and familiar pieces of music in any genre.

Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D Major” RV 93 is one of more than 500 concertos composed by this prolific master. Since Vivaldi was an accomplished violinist, 230 of the concertos were for the solo violin, but the remainder feature a variety of instruments, including bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, viola d’amore, recorder, and lute or mandolin.  Although the majority of these compositions were written in the early 1700s, as is the case with the famous “Four Seasons” violin concertos of 1718, Vivaldi waited until the 1730s to write works using the solo lute. Today, “RV 93” is usually played on guitar.

“Charmaine” is a popular song by Erno Rapee, with lyrics by Lew Pollack, written originally for the 1926 silent movie “What Price Glory?” The song enjoyed great popularity and was recorded by several top artists, including the best-selling version, recorded by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra, which spent seven weeks at the #1 position in 1927. An instrumental version arranged by Ronald Binge and performed by the Mantovani Orchestra was Mantovani’s first hit on the United States charts in 1951. Ronald Binge was a gifted composer, arranger, theater organist, and accordionist, and Mantovani’s favorite arranger. He is credited with the innovation of the cascading strings technique where the violin parts overlap, sustain, and decay in such a way as to simulate the reverberations heard in an enormous cathedral.

The principal source for Johann Sebastian Bach’s seven concertos for solo keyboard instrument, plus a fragment of an eighth, is a manuscript collection the composer copied as a self-standing collection, seemingly in the period between 1737 and 1739. Bach did not waste paper; he began inscribing each concerto immediately after writing the one that preceded it, even to the extent of beginning a new piece on the same page, if space allowed. As with the “Brandenburg Concertos,” which he assembled to support his application for a job with the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721, there must have been a reason for Bach to go to such an effort. The most likely explanation is that he created his harpsichord concertos to be played by the Collegium Musicum that he directed in Leipzig from 1729 through 1741. His “Keyboard Concerto in D Minor” BWV 1052 was likely first written as a now lost violin concerto. Bach also used the first and last movements of this work as sinfonias to cantatas BWV188 and BWV 146, with organ supplying the solo part.

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