Faculty soloists take center stage for Thursday Scholarship Series’ 2016-2017 finale

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The final concert in the 2016-2017 Thursday Scholarship Series brings together some of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s best instrumentalists—including faculty and students—to perform three concertos in Hodgson Concert Hall on Thursday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m.

The ARCO Chamber Orchestra and a graduate student wind ensemble will provide a lively backdrop for five faculty soloists to create the musical fireworks that will close out the concert series’ season.

The genesis for this performance began in a São Paolo airport, where Levon Ambartsumian, Regents Professor and Franklin Professor of Violin, and Jaclyn Hartenberger, UGA Wind Symphony conductor, were relaxing during their return to the US after teaching in Brazil. 

Their conversation turned to collaboration between their ensembles—Ambartsumian also directs ARCO—and the seed was planted. The combination of strings and wind ensemble would create some unique pairings, but before long they developed a program.

“All three works have one thing in common: a very unusual combination of instruments,” said Ambartsumian.

That commonality led to the naming of the program: “Keys, Winds and Strings: A Curious Collection of Concerti by Bach, Stravinsky and Schnittke.”

“It’s been a lot of fun to study and prepare these pieces because of the unique instrumentation,” said Hartenberger. “It will be a real treat to hear these underperformed pieces in this unconventional concert format.”

Bach’s Concerto for Flute, Violin, Harpsichord and Orchestra in A minor features Shakhida Azimkhodjaeva, violin faculty, Angela Jones-Reus, professor of flute, and Evgeny Rivkin, professor of piano, as soloists playing alongside ARCO. 

Hartenberger argues that though this work’s pairing of instruments is not such a novel concept today, in its time it explored new sounds via instrumental pairings as much as the other works on the program.

Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments by Stravinsky is next on the program and is the first of two works that will feature a Hodgson School graduate student wind ensemble conducted by Hartenberger. Anatoly Sheludyakov, resident accompanist, will be piano soloist.

Stravinsky’s piece is another oddity of its time. Not only was it unusual to combine piano and winds in the music world of the 1920s, but the composition represented a departure from Stravinsky’s style that had created his most famous work, “The Rite of Spring.”

The final piece on the program is Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Chamber Orchestra. Schnittke’s work was actually the first added to the program—an easy choice due to its unique combination not just between soloist and ensemble, but within the ensemble. The concerto calls for 11 woodwinds, four strings and a violin soloist. Ambartsumian will return to the stage to take on soloist duties for the close of this unique concert.

“How many concerts feature three concerti?” said Hartenberger. “Talk about really showing off the ability of the HHSOM faculty—these works not only stretch the listener, but more so, stretch the ability of our featured soloists.”

Tickets to the concert are $20 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office. Those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website: music.uga.edu/streaming.

The Thursday Scholarship Series began in 1980 and continues the tradition of “Music Appreciation Programs” started by Hugh Hodgson in the 1930s. Proceeds from contributions and ticket sales to these concerts are among the primary means through which School of Music scholarship funds are raised each year.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.