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Symphony Conductor Michael Griffith to Present Faculty Senate Speaker Series Talk Wednesday

April 18, 2013
Michael Griffith

Revealing insight into the life of the young Mozart will be offered during the University of Wyoming Faculty Senate Speakers’ Series talk Wednesday, April 24, at 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts concert hall.

Michael Griffith, UW Symphony conductor and professor in the Department of Music, will discuss “The C. F. Abel Symphony in E-flat, Opus 7, Number 6, and its odd, mistaken identity as the Mozart Symphony No. 3.”

“This may seem like an obscure incident involving an even more obscure work. Far from it: How did a too-small carriage make Mozart stop practicing for weeks? Why did this lead him to his first symphony? How did Mozart study composing, and why did this cause the mistaken identity? And how did his father’s severe cold enter into all this?” says Griffith, who promises to answer these questions during Wednesday’s talk.

He says Mozart, at age 8, improved the work of Abel, a successful if now forgotten composer. 

“These improvements further the use of instrumental colors as a distinct element of composition, leading us to the masterful coloration of later centuries,” Griffith says. “The talk will be illustrated by recorded examples, so a lay audience can hear the issues.”

Now in his 24th year as UW Symphony conductor, Griffith has conducted orchestras from Rio de Janeiro to Shanghai; is a past president of the Conductors Guild; a winner of an ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award; and has twice been elected a UW “Top 10” teacher.

He’s taught UW’s London Semester, an exchange professorship with Shanghai University and two UW winter session classes; and served as a visiting professor at Finland’s Sibelius Academy. He has studied at the world-renowned Pierre Monteux School in Maine, at Michigan State University, and at the University of Colorado, where he earned his doctorate.

For more information about Wednesday’s presentation, call the Faculty Senate office at (307) 766-5348 or email

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