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UW Symphony Orchestra to Perform Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony Nov. 18

November 12, 2015
head portraits of two women close togther with wicker background
Sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform with the UW Symphony Orchestra Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. (www.christinaandmichellenaughton.com))

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall.

Tickets cost $10 for the public, $7 for seniors and $6 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.

Conducted by UWSO Music Director Michael Griffith, the Fifth Symphony was composed as a response to Shostakovich’s troubling situation with Russian leader Joseph Stalin.

Shostakovich was a successful composer in the Soviet Union when his opera “Lady Macbeth of the District of Mtsensk” premiered in 1934. Initially well received, it soon received scathing criticism in the Communist Party’s official newspaper, Pravda, supposedly at Stalin’s orders, Griffith says.

man in white tie and tails with uplifted arm holding conductor's baton

UW Department of Music Professor Michael Griffith will direct the UW Symphony Orchestra in a performance that features Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. (UW Photo)

To redeem himself, Shostakovich wrote the Symphony No. 5. After its huge public success, he was back in the Communist Party’s good graces, Griffith says, adding that the music is heroic, witty, serious, tragic and, ultimately, triumphant.

“Some say you can hear tanks rolling through Red Square in the middle of the first movement. What a great, patriotic symphony. But, is it? Could it instead be ‘forced rejoicing?’ Could Shostakovich have written a parody of patriotism?” Griffith asks. “Is it a sarcastic composition, written so the uninformed Communist Party elite could think they had reformed Shostakovich, while at a deeper level they were being jeered by the composer? We’ll probably never know the truth. You can decide what you think, or you can simply enjoy the music.”

The concert will begin with a brief Baroque overture, Francesca Caccini’s “Prologue to La Liberazione di Ruggiero,” written in Florence in 1625. It is believed to be the first opera written by a woman.

The first half of the concert will feature Christina and Michelle Naughton, playing Mozart’s only concerto for two pianos. The Naughton sisters also will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, in the Performing Arts Center concert hall as part of the UW Cultural Programs series.

New this year in the concert hall are “Tweet Seats.” Audience members who like to stay connected to social media are welcome -- silently -- to post their comments and share their experiences online. “Tweet Seats” are available only in the back two rows of the auditorium.

For more information, contact Griffith at (307) 766-3069 or email symph@uwyo.edu.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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