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UW Symphony Orchestra to Open 2022-23 Season Sept. 22

September 20, 2022
symphony orchestra rehearsing
The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra will open its “Expect the Unexpected” season Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) will open its “Expect the Unexpected” season Thursday, Sept. 22.

The UWSO will present “Finishing Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’” at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. UWSO Music Director Michael Griffith will begin his 34th year on the podium. The evening’s soloist will be August Ramos, who teaches double bass at UW.

Tickets are $14 for the public, $10 for senior citizens and $4 for students. To purchase tickets, visit the Performing Arts box office or the Wyoming Union information desk, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.tix.com/ticket-sales/uwyo/6984.

“Imagine a symphony. The first half is one of the most popular in the repertoire. It’s so well known that the main tune even had silly words attached -- a bit of doggerel that goes, ‘This is … the symphony … that Schubert wrote and never finished …,’” Griffith says. “But the second half is almost unknown, almost never performed, and many don’t think it exists. So, when the second half is played, it’s very unexpected. Thus, the main work for the evening will be all four movements of Schubert’s ‘Unfinished Symphony.’”

Griffith will talk to the audience briefly before the performance to explain the existence of movements three and four.

“Now, imagine an instrument. It’s so large, you must stand or sit on a tall stool to play it,” Griffith says. “Can the double bass be a solo instrument? Of course, it can, and it’s a beautiful, brilliant one at that. You’ll certainly find that to be true -- if unexpected.”

The chosen repertoire is Nino Rota’s “Divertimento Concertante.” A master at concert music, the Italian composer was best known as a composer of numerous film scores, including the music to “The Godfather.”

Ramos will be the soloist for the Rota piece. He is a member of the Colorado Symphony in Denver, and he also has performed with the New World Symphony of Miami, the Nashville Symphony and the Houston Symphony. He grew up in Massachusetts, where he first studied the double bass at age 12. He has played at the Music Academy of the West, the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in double bass performance from Rice University.

The UWSO also will perform the overture to ragtime composer Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha.” The overture is by turns dramatic, lyrical, mysterious, and light and bouncy -- like a rag.

At the height of COVID-19, when the UWSO could only perform with a small orchestra socially distanced across the stage, the musicians performed the Joplin piece in a theater orchestra version. This year’s version, which uses the full symphony, was orchestrated for the Houston Grand Opera by Gunther Schuller.

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

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