Free concerts begin July 8

The Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis begins its 44th season of free Sunday performances with “All-American,” a concert highlighting the varied genres of the nation’s music, at 7:30 p.m. July 8 in Brookings Quadrangle.

James Richards, Ph.D., conducts the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis.
James Richards, Ph.D., conducts the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis.

Subsequent concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. July 15 and 22 in the Quad. The season concludes with a 7:30 p.m. performance July 29 in Graham Chapel.

The orchestra is conducted by James Richards, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

The “All American” concert opens with a medley of songs by George M. Cohan, the popular Broadway singer/dancer, and continues with Suite Concertante for string orchestra and harp by Alfred Reed and Prelude and Quadruple Fugue by Alan Hovhaness.

Also on the program are Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein; a tribute to the film music of Henry Mancini; and Fugue and Chorale on “Yankee Doodle” by Virgil Thomson, the Kansas City-born composer.

The program concludes with Variations on Carnival of Venice, featuring trumpet soloist Joshua Williams, a junior at Metro Academic and Classical High School.

Concerts continue July 15 with “Bach, Goethe, Mendelssohn,” featuring works relating to the author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The program opens with the overture from Ludwig van Beethoven’s incidental music for Goethe’s play “Egmont.”

Also on the program is Leopold Stowkowski’s orchestrated version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. The concert concludes with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony.

The July 22 concert — “Classical Vienna” — features music by Franz Schubert and by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The program opens with the overture to Mozart’s “Mitridate, rè di Ponto,” an opera written when the composer was 14.

Also on the program is Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major, K 364, a work for solo violin and viola with orchestra. Soloists are David Gillham, violinist with UMSL’s resident Arianna String Quartet, and Robert Meyer, the quartet’s violinist.

The concert concludes with Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major.

The series concludes July 29 with “Multi-cultural Concert.” The program will include a performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major by 13-year-old Dominic Cheli, winner of the St. Louis 2007 Italian-American Piano Competition.

Also on the program are “Russian Sailors’ Dance” from Reinhold Glière’s music for the ballet “The Red Poppy” and “La Fiesta Mexicana” by Missouri composer H. Owen Reed.

In addition, the concert will feature spirituals and gospel works performed by the Gospel Symphonic Choir conducted by Dello Thedford.

The Gateway Festival Orchestra was established in 1964 by conductor William Schatzkamer, professor emeritus in piano in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, and other local musicians, in part to provide summer employment to members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The area’s first integrated professional orchestra, the group originally performed on the downtown riverfront but relocated to the University in 1970.

The public is encouraged to bring lawn seating.

For more information, call 569-0371 or visit