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UW Symphony Orchestra Closes Season With ‘An American in Paris’ May 5

April 29, 2022
Michael Griffith and Andrew Staupe

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) will present its closing concert, “An American in Paris,” Thursday, May 5.

The final concert of the UWSO’s “Joy and Reflection” season will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall.

Tickets are $12 for the public; $8 for senior citizens; $6 for students not attending UW; and free to UW students with a “W” number. To purchase tickets, visit the Performing Arts box office or the Wyoming Union information desk, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at

“The initial plan was to present a program all by American composers. However, the UWSO is adding one additional short piece: Valentin Silvestrov’s ‘Prayer for Ukraine,’” says Michael Griffith, UWSO music director. “The UW Symphony is one of only a few orchestras in the world performing ‘Prayer for Ukraine,’ which will start the concert.”

Silvestrov, today’s leading Ukrainian composer, wrote the piece for choir in 2014. Recently, the Bamberg Symphony in Germany commissioned an orchestral version, which was posted on YouTube. Griffith says he came across it and was “tremendously moved.”

The program will continue with William Grant Still’s 1943 “In Memoriam: The Colored Soldiers Who Died for Democracy.” Still was the leading Black composer of his generation, who was best known for his “Afro-American Symphony.”

The concert will feature guest soloist Andrew Staupe, who is considered one of the distinctive voices of a new generation of pianists. He will perform the 1934 Piano Concerto in One Movement by African American composer Florence Price.

Staupe has performed with many of the top orchestras throughout the United States and in Europe, including the Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and the George Enescu Philharmonic in Romania. He has performed recitals in numerous distinguished concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York; the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow; the Salle Cortot in Paris; and the Schumann Haus in Leipzig.

Staupe has jammed with legendary vocalist Bobby McFerrin, played tangos with the Assad Brothers, and collaborated with many other distinguished instrumentalists and singers. He recently recorded his debut CD with violinist Hasse Borup for the Naxos label in Copenhagen.

Rounding out the concert program will be Jesse Ayers’ “Shinkansen” and George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”

“The big closing piece is a huge favorite in the orchestral sphere,” Griffith says. “By turns jazzy, bluesy and bright, ‘An American in Paris’ even includes Parisian taxi horns. You’ll hear the bustle of Parisian life, the loneliness of our expat hero or heroine, and their exciting life in this wonderful city.”

For more details about the concert, go to and scroll to “UW Symphony: An American in Paris.”

For more information, call Griffith at (307) 766-3069 or email

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