Springfield Symphony Orchestra Offers World Premiere Of Piano Concerto

A world premiere is a big deal.

When you think about it, symphony orchestras play a fairly limited repertoire, largely consisting of symphonies and concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and other masters active in the 18th and19th centuries. Occasionally, when time and money permit, a new composition is added to that canon of chestnuts.

Commissioning and premiering a brand new work augments, extends, and hopefully enhances the repertoire. It invites an audience sated with standards to experience notes never before heard in this combination, and to climb aboard a composer’s mind, taking an emotional journey no one has ever taken, to a destination no one has ever visited.

Springfield Symphony Orchestra concertgoers have this rare opportunity on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Symphony Hall, as Maestro Kevin Rhodes, the SSO and piano soloist Jeffrey Biegel, a favorite guest of Springfield audiences, present the world premiere of composer Kenneth Fuchs’s Piano Concerto (“Spiritualist”), After Three Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler.

Fuchs, professor of composition at the University of Connecticut, has written music for orchestra, band, chorus, and various chamber ensembles. The London Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, has recorded four discs of Fuchs’s music for Naxos American Classics. The first disc, released in 2005, was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The second, containing music for horn, was released in 2008. The third, recorded in London’s historic Abbey Road Studios, was released in 2012, and was included in the 2012 Grammy Award nominations. The fourth, also recorded at Abbey Road in 2013, features baritone Roderick Williams in a program of vocal music.

To read the entire article, visit Mass Live!

Tickets for the March 12 performance priced from $22-$65 may be obtained online at or by calling the box office at 733-2291. Classical Conversations, an informal half-hour discussion of the evening’s music beginning at 6:30 p.m., will be led by John Montanari, (NEPR, retired). The concert is sponsored by Falcetti Music, with media sponsor, News Radio 560 WHYN.

‘Sense and Sensibility’ Tells Tale of Life and Love

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of “Sense and Sensibility” is full of movement, with short scenes and shifting locations that make it feel cinematic, according to director Kristin Wold.

The constantly changing nature of the Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel is a natural fit for Wold, assistant professor-in-residence for performance, who teaches acting and stage movement in UConn’s Department of Dramatic Arts.

“The way that it’s written is very cinematic. The scenes tend to be pretty short. We’re changing location constantly,” she says. “How to tell a story in that way on stage has been part of the fun and challenge of working on it. We wanted to make sure to get the depth of the characters when we’re moving so quickly. It’s a pretty epic story. I think that happens all the time when you adapt. How do you tell a novel in a two-hour event and do it justice? I think we get the depth of who they are.”

Based on Austen’s popular novel, a staple of English literature classes that is centered on romance, emotion, and reason in a family, the CRT production opened Feb. 25 and will be performed at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre through March 6.

Guest artist Cynthia Darlow (Mrs. Jennings) and Jenn Sapozhnikov, '17 (SFA) (Mrs. Palmer) in the CRT production of 'Sense and Sensibility,' now playing at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)
Guest artist Cynthia Darlow (Mrs. Jennings) and Jenn Sapozhnikov, ’17 (SFA) (Mrs. Palmer) in the CRT production of ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ now playing at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)

The central roles of the Dashwood sisters are played by second-year MFA acting candidate Arlene Bozich as Elinor and senior acting student Susannah Resnikoff ’16 (SFA) as Marianne. The cast features special guest artists Cynthia Darlow as Mrs. Jennings and Don Noble as Sir John Middleton/Henry Dashwood. Darlow is a founding member of American Repertory Theatre with Broadway roles in “Billy Elliot,” “Accent on Youth,” “Rabbit Hole,” and “Prelude to a Kiss,” among others. Noble is a Broadway veteran whose credits include “Once” and “The End of the Rainbow” and the National Tour of “Mamma Mia!”.

Wold says one of the challenges of this stage version of “Sense and Sensibility” is the large number of characters in the story as written by Hanreddy and Sullivan, who were also the writing team behind CRT’s well received production of “Pride & Prejudice.” The playwrights developed a script for professional theaters that allows dual roles for 13 actors, but in order to provide additional acting experiences for students, in the CRT production there are 21 actors.

The director notes that one of the challenges for some of the student actors is that they are portraying much older characters in the story, requiring them to expand their nonverbal acting skills.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

“Sense and Sensibility” will be performed at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, 2132 Hillside Road, Storrs, on Feb. 26, Feb. 27, March 4, and March 5 at 8 p.m.; and on March 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m.; with matinees on March 5 and March 6 at 2 p.m. For more information, go to the Connecticut Repertory Theatre website.

Expect the Unexpected at ‘Roomful of Teeth’ Performance

When the award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth performs in J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall on Feb. 10 at 8 p.m., it will be as unique an experience for the group as for the audience.

Roomful of Teeth is both a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning group of classically-trained musicians who perform unconventional music. They will perform with UConn students in the Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony, completing a Sackler Artists-in-Residency that began last fall when the group met with music and art students on the Storrs campus.

Roomful of Teeth is a group of nine musicians who perform in a wide variety of singing styles. Their performance at UConn is the culmination of a residency on campus last fall. (Photo by Bonica Ayala of Bonica Ayala Photography)
Roomful of Teeth is a group of nine musicians who perform in a wide variety of singing styles. Their performance at UConn is the culmination of a residency on campus last fall. (Photo by Bonica Ayala of Bonica Ayala Photography)

“This is probably more involved than we’ve ever been at a single institution,” says Brad Wells, founder and artistic director of Roomful of Teeth, who is also director of the choral program at Williams College in Massachusetts. “Usually we work with composers or singers [on a campus]. To have this kind of rich, multifaceted, and multipart residency is very rare and exciting.”

In addition to meeting with students in Department of Music classes taught by Jamie Spillane ’87 MM, director of choral studies; Kenneth Fuchs, professor of music composition; and Jeffrey Renshaw, coordinator for conducting and ensembles; and with Harvey Felder, director of the Symphony Orchestra, the vocalists also met last fall with a painting class taught by Kathryn Myers, professor of painting, whose Aqua Media class this semester is creating paintings inspired by the music of Roomful of Teeth.

The student art will be on display in the Arena Gallery in the Art and Art History Department building behind von der Mehden on Feb. 10. The performance will also include a work written by a student in Fuchs’s music composition class.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

Roomful of Teeth will perform with the UConn Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. at J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall, 875 Coventry Road, Storrs.

UCMB & UConn Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv Perform Together

The UConn Marching Band has commissioned a brand new piece of music from composer John B. Hedges in honor of the naming of the Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Written for UConn School of Fine Arts’s own professor and world renowned violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, this piece, “Spiral,” is inspired by the Pratt and Whitney jet engine. This combination of solo electric violin and the marching band will be performed at halftime of the UConn vs. Villanova football game on Thursday!