ASU bands, orchestra celebrate a century of music at Gammage

Horns will be blaring and strings will be plucked as three of ASU’s most storied and well-regarded band and orchestra ensembles start their seasons with performances on Thursday and Friday in the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.

Both evenings will feature performances by ASU students conducted by faculty and guest maestros. The concerts will also serve as a welcome to ASU’s new assistant professor of instrumental conducting Jason Caslor. He will be conducting the Wind Ensemble on Thursday and has been leading rehearsals with the Symphony Orchestra that performs on Friday.

The Thursday program is titled “ASU Bands at 100! The Roaring 20s and the Rousing 2000s” and includes performances by the ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Orchestra. 

The ASU bands are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year. The program reflects this by juxtaposing pieces from a century ago with new compositions.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Wind Ensemble will be performing pieces by band composers Jacob, Whitacre, David Maslanka and more.  

One of the highlights of the program is a brand new clarinet duo by concert and film composer Alain Mayrand called “Battling Boggarts” which features soloists Jeremy Ruth and Kristi Hanno, both ASU doctorate students studying clarinet performance.

“I have collaborated with Jeremy before during our master's studies at ASU,” Hanno said. “We have a lively stage presence when we do perform, and Alain Mayrand's 'Battling Boggarts' caters to our personalities both on and off the stage. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Caslor and the ASU Wind Ensemble on this animated duet.”

Immediately after the Wind Ensemble performs, the ASU Wind Orchestra will take the stage under the baton of conductor Gary W. Hill. The Wind Orchestra will perform pieces by Sousa, Daugherty and a Stravinsky piano concerto that features ASU associate piano professor Andrew Campbell. 

Erin Delaney, a sophomore flute performance major, is one of the many performers in this ensemble.

“The program we're putting on for this Thursday will have pieces that are extremely different but work together in their intensity and musicality,” Delaney said. “I'm most excited for the Daugherty 'Bells for Stokowski,' which will be wrapping up our concert.”

At 7:30 p.m. the following night, ASU Symphony Orchestra will be taking over Gammage with its program “The ASU Symphony Orchestra: Carl St. Clair Conducts Shostakovich.”

This program features Shostakovich’s infamous "Symphony No. 10" and a suite from his opera entitled, “Intermezzo from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.” 

Guest conductor Carl St. Clair of the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California will be bringing Shostakovich’s works to life. St. Clair has passed on what drew him to the program to Caslor.

“The whole concert is based around Carl’s thoughts on Shostakovich's views on Stalin during the war years,” Caslor said. “'The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk' was the first piece that alerted Stalin of Shostakovich and caused a lot of stress on Shostakovich. The 10th Symphony is supposed to be Shostakovich’s portrayal of Stalin, especially in the second movement.”

 For more information on the bands concert, click here. For more information on the symphony orchestra concert, click here.

Correction:  Due to a reporting error, a previous version of these photo captions incorrectly stated the director's name and the title of the musical group.  This version has been updated with the correct information.  

Related Links:

Soloists take center stage as ASU symphony comes to life

'Virtuous' indeed: ASU Symphony Orchestra presents 'Classic and Romantic Virtuosity'


Reach the reporter at tanner.stechnij@asu.edu or follow @tannerstechnij on Twitter.

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