Shenandoah Conservatory welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner with a retrospective of his works during this year’s Pulitzer Prize Composer Festival on Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3.
The first concert, which features Shenandoah Conservatory’s in-house new music group EDGE Ensemble, begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, at Bright Box Theater at 15 N. Loudoun St. The second concert begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Armstrong Concert Hall on the campus of Shenandoah University and showcases several of Shenandoah’s premier large ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Conservatory Choir, Shenandoah Chorus and Cantus Singers. Both performances offer audiences an opportunity to meet the composer and learn more about his work.
As one of the country’s most prominent composers, Joseph Schwantner is revered as a gifted orchestral colorist. His dramatic and unique music is admired for its deft implementation of luminous color and fluctuating rhythms. Several of his concert pieces have become classics and some of the most-performed large ensemble works of the past 40 years.
“In many ways, Schwantner’s music is responsible for the ‘sound’ of contemporary concert music,” said Director of Composition and Coordinator of New Music Jonathan Newman, M.M. “The sound worlds he created in his classic works have become so ingrained into the 21st century composer’s palette that a new work can scarcely be composed without owing a significant debt to his dramatic gestures, gorgeous orchestrations and unique aural textures. It’s an honor to teach this important and beautiful music to our students and to share the composer and his work with our community.”
During his time at Shenandoah Conservatory, the celebrated composer will conduct masterclasses for composition students, coach instrumental students and ensembles in advance of their performances, and participate in Q&A’s.
Friday’s concert features three works by Schwantner as performed by the Shenandoah Conservatory EDGE Ensemble: “Distant Runes and Incantations” showcasing Assistant Professor of Piano Ieva Jokubaviciute, M.M.; the classic masterpiece “Sparrows” featuring Assistant Professor of Voice, Musical Theatre and CCM Stephanie Higgins, M.M.; and “Taking Charge” for flute, piano and percussion.
Saturday’s concert features several works for large ensembles: the third movement from Percussion Concerto and “… and the mountains rising nowhere” performed by the Wind Ensemble; “Chasing Light” performed by the Symphony Orchestra; and three choral works from “Chapel Music” performed by the Conservatory Choir, Shenandoah Chorus and Cantus Singers.
Tickets for each performance are $15 for general admission, $13 for senior citizens and $5 for military, students and youth. Tickets and information are available at the Shenandoah Conservatory Box Office at 540/665-4569, located in the lobby of Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre and online at conservatoryperforms.org.