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UW Symphony Opening Night is Oct. 2

September 23, 2014
Man conducting orchestra
Michael Griffith begins his 26th year as UW Symphony Orchestra conductor. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra opens its fall season Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. Chi-Chen Wu, piano, and Maureen Boddicker, soprano, will be the featured soloists, and Michael Griffith will conduct.

Tickets cost $10 for the public, $6 for students and $7 for senior citizens. Tickets are available at the UW Wyoming Union and Performing Arts box offices or by calling (307) 766-6666. A season brochure can be downloaded at

“Opening night -- those words hold such promise, such excitement,” says Griffith. “It’s a new orchestra; some have graduated, going on to jobs playing or teaching. Others have replaced them. How are the new players? Can they have gelled yet? What repertoire was chosen to start the year?”

The concert will open with the joyous “Festive Overture” by Paul Stuart. Composed entirely in 7/8 time, that “off” rhythm gives it an infectious, bouncy dance feel.

The evening’s “big” piece is actually a series of short pieces: nine sections of the music Edvard Grieg wrote for Ibsen’s vast drama, “Peer Gynt.” Some will be well known to audiences: “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and “Morning Mood” are familiar to almost everyone, if perhaps not by name.

“The great storm at sea and two dance movements are equally exciting, and the best discoveries will be the two songs, ‘Solveig’s Song’ and ‘Cradle Song,’ sung by Boddicker,” Griffith says. “The work is both sophisticated and folk-like, powerful yet simple. It includes some of Grieg’s most popular music.”

One of UW’s newest music faculty members, Wu has chosen the Mozart “Piano Concerto No. 20” for her initial performance with the orchestra.

“It’s a powerful concerto, dark and brooding in places, lyrical and sunny in others,” says Griffith.

Wu was praised by World Journal, Chicago, for her “amazing playing,” and she has appeared as a recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist in the United States and abroad. Her concerts have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s WVIA’s Simply Grand Concert Series and NPR’s From the Top in Boston.

Boddicker received her bachelor's and master's degrees in vocal performance from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her awards include the Noris Performance Award, placement in Metropolitan Opera Guild regional competitions and the Denver Lyric Opera Guild.

Griffith begins his 26th year as UWSO conductor. He has been guest conductor at engagements ranging from New York’s Times Square to Rio de Janeiro, and he has taught at such diverse institutions as Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, Shanghai University and the University of London.

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