Annual Chancellor’s Concert to feature music of Respighi, Borodin and Dvorak

The Washington University Symphony Orchestra and Concert Choir will present the 2008 Chancellor’s Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27.

Sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the concert is free and open to the public and will take place in the 560 Music Center’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.

Dan Presgrave, instrumental music coordinator, conducts the 70-plus-member Symphony Orchestra. John Stewart, director of vocal activities, conducts the 60-plus-member Concert Choir.

The program will open with “Fountains of Rome” (1915-16) by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936). Born in Bologna, Respighi studied in St. Petersburg with Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov and later taught composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. There, he composed his acclaimed “Roman Trilogy,” of which “Fountains of Rome” is the first part. (Its two companion works, “Pines of Rome” (1923-24) and “Roman Festivals” (1928), have both previously been performed by the Symphony Orchestra.)

” ‘Fountains of Rome’ is a musical picture of four of Rome’s fountains,” Presgrave said, “contemplated at the hour in which their character is most in harmony with the surrounding landscape.”

The piece begins at dawn with the Fountain of Valle Giulia, followed in a blast of horns by morning at Giovanni Bernini’s celebrated Triton Fountain, dedicated to the Greco-Roman sea god. Noon brings listeners to the Trevi Fountain, perhaps Rome’s most famous (it was later featured in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”), while the piece concludes with the Villa Medici Fountain at sunset.

The program continues with “Polovetsian Dances” by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887). The suite represents the best-known selections from Borodin’s unfinished opera “Prince Igor,” based on the 12th-century Slavic poem “The Lay of Igor’s Host.” Concluding the program is “Symphony No. 8 in G major” (1889) by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).

“‘Symphony No. 8’ is nothing less than Dvorak at his best,” Presgrave said. “Unmistakably Bohemian in character, it sings of folklore and dance and conjures up images of the beautiful Czech countryside.”

For more information, call 935-5566 or e-mail