Sunday, October 11, 2020 Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra concerts Oct. 17, 2 PM & 7:30 PM, in person and streamed, include works of George Walker and Florence B. Price

George Walker (1922-2018)

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Niki Koffmann

October 11, 2020

All the plans for Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 season went out the window this summer. But by early fall, the organization had determined a new plan for a COVID-19-conscious concert series.

The official beginning of this restructured season is “Stunning Strings” on Oct. 17, and Music Director William Intriligator said the program will reflect changes that were made due to more than just the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also thought about making changes with what was going on after [the killing of] George Floyd,” he said. “This season, we have works by African-American composers on every program … a lot of pieces all season long that will be new to me, and I’m excited to do it and maybe seek out more composers who are minorities – more women, more African Americans, Asian Americans, all kinds, so it’s not just the dead white guys.”

One such piece that will be performed in “Stunning Strings” – which, as the name implies, will only feature string instrumentalists – is Black composer Florence Price’s “Five Folksongs in Counterpoint.” The piece was scored for string quartet, but will be played by string orchestra at both the 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. concerts. When composing the piece, Price drew from familiar folk songs like “Clementine,” “Shortnin’ Bread” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to create counterpoint and variations around them.

The concert repertoire will also feature George Walker (the first Black composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in music)’s “Lyric for Strings,” which was written in the 1940s, when the composer was in his 20s. He wrote it originally as the second movement of a string quartet and as a memorial for his grandmother, but it is now most often played by full string orchestras, like it will be at these CSO performances.

“These are both really important composers in the classical world, and unfortunately their music isn’t as well known,” Intriligator said of Price and Walker. “I’m excited because we’re introducing (Price’s) piece probably to most people. … I wondered, ‘would it be not serving her well to do it as string orchestra, or would it be serving her well to have more people know this piece, which deserves to be better known?’ and I decided on the second option.”


No comments: