The Gateway Festival Orchestra will begin its 44th season of free Sunday-evening performances with “All American,” a concert highlighting the varied genres of the nation’s music, at 7:30 p.m. July 8 in Washington University’s Brookings Quadrangle.
The orchestra is conducted by James Richards, chair of the Department of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). Richards also serves as conductor of the St. Louis Chamber Orchestra and is artist-in-residence at Maryville University.
Subsequent concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. July 15 and 22 in Brookings Quadrangle. The season concludes July 29 in Graham Chapel. Brookings Quadrangle is located just west of Brookings Hall, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives. The public is encouraged to bring lawn seating. Graham Chapel is located immediately north of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
The “All American” concert opens with a medley of songs by George M. Cohan (1878-1942), the popular Broadway singer/dancer, and continues with Suite Concertante for string orchestra and harp by Alfred Reed (1921-2005) and Prelude and Quadruple Fugue by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000). Also on the concert are Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein (1918-90); a tribute to the film music of Henry Mancini (1924-94); and Fugue and Chorale on “Yankee Doodle” by Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), the Kansas City-born composer.
The program concludes with Variations on Carnival of Venice, featuring trumpet soloist Joshua Williams, a junior at the Metro Academic Classical High School. Williams, a student of Robert Souza and Susan Slaughter, was recently chosen as outstanding high school trumpet player at Missouri’s All-State Music Educator’s Convention as well as lead trumpet in the All-State Jazz Band.
Concerts continue July 15 with “Bach, Goethe and Mendelssohn,” featuring works relating to the author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). The program will open with the overture from Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) incidental music for Goethe’s tragic play Egmont, based on the 16th-century struggles between the Roman Catholic Church and the moderate Dutch Counter-Reformation leader Lamoraal, Count of Egmond (1522-68).
Also on the program is Leopold Stowkowski’s (1882-1977) orchestrated version of John Sebastian Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. The concert concludes with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony. Mendelssohn (1809-1847), a child prodigy, had visited and corresponded with Goethe as a teenager and was deeply impressed by the elder poet.
The July 22 concert — “Classical Vienna” — features music by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), the city’s most famous native son, and by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), who lived there for much of his career. The program opens with the overture to Mozart’s Mitridate, rè di Ponto, a six-hour, three-act opera written when the composer was only 14 years old. Also on the concert 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 USML’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. Cheli will be in 9th grade at St. Louis University High School in the fall. Also on the program is “Russian Sailors’ Dance” from Reinhold Glière’s (1875-1956) music for the ballet The Red Poppy; and La Fiesta Mexicana by Missouri composer H. Owen Reed (b. 1910). In addition, the concert will feature spirituals and gospel works performed by the Gospel Symphonic Choir, conducted by Dello Thedford, director of fine arts at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.
GATEWAY FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
The Gateway Festival Orchestra was established in 1964 by conductor William Schatzkamer, professor emeritus in piano in the Department of Music, and other local musicians, in part to provide summer employment to members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Gateway was the first integrated professional orchestra in the St. Louis area and its formation ultimately led to the merger of the Black Musicians’ Association with the Musicians’ Association of St. Louis (now Local 2-197 of the American Federation of Musicians). The group originally performed on the downtown riverfront but relocated to Washington University’s in 1970.
Gateway Festival Orchestra concerts are supported by the Roland Quest Memorial Fund of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, the Regional Arts Commission, the Arts and Education Council, the Missouri Arts Council, and the Music Performance Fund of the American Federation of Musicians.
WHO: Gateway Festival Orchestra
WHAT: Summer concert series
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8, 15, 22 and 29
WHERE: July 8, 15 and 22: Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives July 29: Graham Chapel, just north of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
COST: Free and open to the public
INFORMATION: Call (314) 569-0371, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.gatewayfestivalorchestra.org.