Hodgson Wind Ensemble to perform as part of A Gathering at The Hugh

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will be hosting “A Gathering at the Hugh: Celebrating the Composition and Commissioning Process, Wind Ensemble and Saxophone,” a weekend-long event which will be held March 2nd through 4th. 


“This gathering is an opportunity to showcase the collaborative process that takes place between various artists to bring a new piece of music to life from its commission/inception to its world premiere,” says Connie Frigo, University of Georgia professor of saxophone.


Throughout the event, composers, conductors, performers, and commissioners will all be showcased. Hosts Connie Frigo and Cynthia Johnston Turner, Director of Bands, are no strangers to the commissioning process, which is at the center of the gathering. There are two commissions and world premieres that will be taking place during the event


A highlight of the gathering will take place on Friday, March 2nd at 8pm in Hodgson Hall as audience members listen to the world premiere of Joel Love's new saxophone concerto Solace, written for Connie Frigo, and commissioned by the Hodgson Wind Ensemble.


“I was especially interested in commissioning a concerto that featured the lyrical and expressive sides of the saxophone,” says Frigo. The five movements in Solace (Joy, Besieged, Gratitude, Hidden, Work) each meditate on a mood and is inspired by either a selection of text or title word from five consolations, picked by Love and Frigo.   


In addition to the premiere of Love’s brilliant saxophone concerto Solace, the Hodgson Wind Ensemble will be premiering Winter Blossom, a piece commissioned by Cynthia Johnston Turner from Chinese-American composer Xi Wang. This piece was commissioned to celebrate the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky with whom Xi Wang studied while at Cornell.


 “Our mutual love and respect of this great friend and artist compelled us both to create a piece of art in his memory,” said Johnston Turner. 


The Hodgson Wind Ensemble will also perform Arnold Schoenberg's Theme and Variations. A deeply misunderstood composer, this early work demonstrates Schoenberg's deep love and roots in the lyrical, Romantic tradition. This piece continues the theme of the evening, set forth by Love’s piece Solace and what the term evokes.  H. Robert Reynolds, one of this generation’s leading conductors and thinkers on music and performance, will be the guest conductor for the piece.


This concert will be a unique experience for the audience because the composers for both of the premiere pieces will be present and will be speaking about their process and inspiration before each piece is performed. Reynolds will also be leading a panel discussion on the commissioning process on Saturday, March 3rd at 10 am in the Dancz Center for New Music (room 264).


Another highlight of the gathering is the residency of Dutch saxophonist and international virtuoso Arno Bornkamp. Bornkamp will lead a masterclass on Saturday, March 3rd in Edge Hall from 12pm-3pm. The following day, Bornkamp will be in concert in Edge Hall at 3 pm with guest pianist Casey Dierlam. These events are free and open to the public.


“Bornkamp is a leading world figure in concert saxophone and it's very special to have him here at UGA,” said Frigo.


The masterclasses and guest artist recital are free and open to the public, as are all the events throughout the gathering with the exception of the Hodgson Wind Ensemble concert. This concert will happen on Friday, March 2nd at 8 pm and will take place in Hodgson Hall. Tickets are $12 and are available online at pac.uga.edu or by phone at 706-542-4400. If you aren't able to attend this event, you can stream the concert by visiting music.uga.edu/streaming. For the full schedule of events, please visit music.uga.edu/gathering-hugh.