Chancellor’s Concert includes compositions by alum Portnoy

The Washington University Symphony Orchestra will feature music by St. Louis composer and alumnus Kim Portnoy as part of the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences’ annual Chancellor’s Concert at 3 p.m. April 6 in Graham Chapel.

Dan Presgrave, instrumental music coordinator in the music department, will conduct the approximately 70-member symphony orchestra in a performance of Portnoy’s Bluework — Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, with soloist Carolbeth True.

Portnoy, who is widely known in St. Louis as a jazz pianist, earned a master’s degree in composition from the University in 1981 and currently serves as associate professor of music and director of composition studies at Webster University.

Chancellor’s Concert

Who: Washington University Symphony OrchestraWhat: Music of Tchaikovsky, Poulenc and Kim PortnoyWhere: Graham ChapelWhen: 3 p.m. April 6Admission: Free and open to the publicFor more information, call 935-4841
He has written commissions for musical institutions throughout the area and recorded his own work with the Kim Portnoy Jazz Orchestra. He was recently featured as pianist and arranger in the Sheldon Concert Series’ Gershwin & Friends, which also featured David Halen, concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Portnoy said that, like Gershwin’s jazz-inflected Rhapsody in Blue, Bluework, which premiered in 2001 with the Webster University Symphony Orchestra, is not strictly jazz, but combines elements of both classical and jazz traditions. For example, he noted that, though Bluework is written in the standard concerto format of three movements, blues structures serve as the “glue” holding the piece together.

The program will also feature the symphony orchestra’s performance of Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile, arranged for string orchestra and conducted by Elizabeth Macdonald, director of strings.

In addition, the symphony orchestra will be joined by the Chamber Choir of Washington University, conducted by John Stewart, director of vocal activities, for Francis Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, with soprano soloist Karen Hetzler, a master’s candidate in vocal performance.

The Chancellor’s Concert is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. For more information, call 935-4841.