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Austin Civic Orchestra to Perform On The 20th Century

Arts And Entertainment

Austin Civic Orchestra to Perform On The 20th Century


By Sherlyn Ong

Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m., in the Alma Thomas Theater, the Sarofim School of Arts is hosting the Austin Civic Orchestra, an orchestra full of music loving individuals who are in it for the sole enjoyment of making beautiful music. The orchestra will be conducted by Dr. Lois Ferrari, who is also the director of the SU Orchestra and SU Wind Ensemble.

Ferrari noted this performance is essentially her campus recital—she “plays” the orchestra as her instrument and this is her showcase. To her, this performance is similar to a published work or scholarly report, but the words are instead replaced with music.

A seasonal concert for the Austin Civic Orchestra, this is a performance opportunity for Ferrari. The theme is 20th century music, unique content that will only be performed at SU.

One of the pieces that will be performed is the Suite from the Firebird by Igor Stravinsky. It is a signature piece of the 20th century and is perhaps the most recognizable piece in the concert. Dr. Ferrari notes that it was radical and controversial during its time, but is extremely popular nowadays.

“One of the pieces that was so radical is now a standard,” Ferrari said. “Stravinsky’s music may be hard to appreciate right now, but in another 80 years, he could very well be like Mozart is to us now.”

Symphony of Songs was originally composed for bands but Dr. Whitwell has arranged an orchestral version of this piece especially for the Austin Civic Orchestra. 

In contrast to Whitwell’s more melodic piece is Anthony Iannaccone’s From Time to Time and Fantasias on Two Appalachian Folksongs. Ferrari noted that Iannaccone’s style is edgy and exciting.

Finally, the orchestra will perform Polka and Waltz from the opera The Good Soldier Schweik by Robert Kurka. It is a chamber piece for winds, brass and percussion and will be conducted by Gus Sterneman, who graduated from Southwestern in ’06.

“Embrace the classics, explore the future” is the motto of the Austin Civic Orchestra, according to Ferrari.

“One of my responsibilities as a music director is to promote new music. Within every concert, we try to do something that is a recognizable classic and something that’s going to be new and challenging for people,” Ferrari said. 

To learn more about the music that is performed, there will be a special pre-concert discussion at 6:30 p.m. led by Dr. Ferrari, Dr. Iannaccone and Dr. Whitwell in the SU ensemble room.

Tickets for students, faculty, and staff are free with a university ID.