Guest artist Michael Powell, tenor trombonist of the American Brass Quintet since 1983, will appear in concertwith the WSU Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, September 20, at 7:30pm, in Miller Concert Hall. The orchestra’s inaugural performance of the 2012-13 season features music by Haydn, Sibelius, and Eric Ewazen.
A Wichita native who earned his Bachelor of Music degree at WSU, Powell is an active New York freelance musician who serves on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Rutgers University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and the Aspen Music School. He will perform Ewazen's Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra.
The virtuosic showpiece, written specifically for Powell, is compelling and engrossing, emphasizing the instrument's rhythmic playfulness and soulful lyricism. A member of the Juilliard faculty since 1980, Ewazen has recently received premiere performances from the Charleston (SC)Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife in Spain, Orquesta Sinfonica Carlos Chavez in Mexico City, Orchestre de la Garde Republicaine in Paris, the Jeju Music Festival Wind Ensemble in Korea and the Moment Musicale Orchestra of Taiwan.
The concert also features a middle-period masterwork by Joseph Haydn, Symphony No. 87 in A Major. The composer spent nearly his entire career in the service of the Esterházy court, a Hungarian noble family renowned for their musical patronage. A shrewd businessman, Haydn renegotiated his contract as often as possible.
One such agreement, brokered in 1779, eased restrictions on publication and commissions from outside agencies. In 1785-6, Haydn composed six symphonies for a prestigious public concert series in Paris. Symphony No. 87 is a fine example of these brilliant works: a compelling, ebullient creation of utmost craftsmanship, composed for an audience both knowledgeable and appreciative.
The Third Symphony of Jean Sibelius concludes the program. Dating from 1907, the concise, concentrated, three-movement work was said to be a reaction toGustav Mahler’s expansive, far-reaching Fifth Symphony.
In fact, when Mahler and Sibelius met in Helsinki that very year, the Finnish composer argued his vision of the symphonic ideal, preferring “severity of style and the profound logic that created an inner connection between all the motifs.” The Third vividly embodies this manifesto, displaying tautly-hewed movements in which organic unity is matched by skillful manipulation of orchestral timbres and formal innovation.
Michael Powell is one of the most sought after trombonists in New York City. He performs and records regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Little Orchestra Society, and Aspen Festival Orchestra.
Mr. Powell has performed as soloist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Kansas City Philharmonic, the Aspen Music Festival, and the New Hampshire Music Festival. He has performed on Broadway and records for radio, television, and movies. From 1978-82 he was principal trombonist of the Kansas City Philharmonic. He has taught master classes in trombone and chamber music all over the world.
The 2012-13 WSU Symphony Orchestra concert season features faculty artists Leonid Shukaev, cello, and Sarunas Jankauskas, clarinet, as well as collaborations with Powell and Grammy-award nominated jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton.
Recent Symphony appearances include a 2011 concert at Carnegie Hall, participation in the 2008 International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Zaragoza, Spain, and multiple invited performances at the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop.
Dr. Mark Laycock is an Associate Professor of Music at Wichita State University, where he holds the Ann Walenta Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship. He was recognized with the WSU Excellence in Creative Activity Award (2012) and the College of Fine Arts Excellence in Teaching Award (2007). Dr. Laycock is a member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic; he was recently appointed Chair ofOrchestra Activities.
His work as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator spans 22 states, including the leadership of all-state orchestras in Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, and Washington; upcoming engagements include the Wichita Symphony Orchestra anddistrict and regional ensembles in Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, and Wisconsin, as well as the Arkansas All-State Orchestra.Tickets ($7 for general admission with discounts available) may be purchased through the Fine Arts Box Office (978-3233). For further information,contact Dr. Mark Laycock at 978-6202 email@example.com.