Washington University to present annual Chancellor’s Concert April 27

Program to feature music of Respighi, Borodin and Dvorák

The Washington University Symphony Orchestra and the Washington University 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 explains, “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 Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904).

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

The 560 Music Center is located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email kschultz@artsci.wustl.edu.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Washington University Symphony Orchestra and Washington University Concert Choir

WHAT: 2008 Chancellor’s Concert

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27

WHERE: E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., near the intersection of Trinity and Delmar Boulevard

COST: Free and open to the public

SPONSORS: Washington University’s Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5566 or email kschultz@artsci.wustl.edu.