Music school opens season with world premiere

Photo by Rachel Anderson

The school of music is opening the school year with a world premiere number inspired by the Nostradamus prophecy for the end of the world and the weather catastrophes of Japan in March.

The Butler School of Music Showcase Concert will feature performances from Butler’s Chorale and University Choir, Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.

“[The concert] gives us a chance to hit the ground running and provides great motivation to get up to performance-quality levels quickly right at the beginning of the year,” professor Robert Grechesky, director of bands, said. “If we didn’t have such talented students, there is no way we could have a performance ready in two and a half weeks of school.”

The Wind Ensemble will  tackle the world premiere of “The End of the World,” composed by composer-in-residence Michael
Schelle
.

He said he originally planned to write a piece about the Nostradamus “doomsday prophecy,” but his Japanese wife’s sadness about the 2011 disasters inspired him to make a piece which combines both elements.

“It’s always exciting to do a world premiere, but it’s also very rewarding,” Grechesky said. “It is very important to the music profession and the art world to bring new works into existence, and our commitment to that has always been a significant part of our band program here at Butler.”

Schelle said that although it is a challenging, professional piece, Butler’s “fantastic young musicians” have stepped up “big time.”

Junior Butler Chorale member Doug Johnson similarly praised his classmates.

“Practices have been very intensive and productive so far,” Johnson, a voice major, said. “The Chorale is lucky to have top-notch student musicians. Everyone really pulls their weight.”

The Wind Ensemble also will be performing “Lincoln Portrait” by Aaron Copland. It combines music with text from Copland’s writing. The narrator of the piece will be special guest Chris Wright, chief meteorologist for WTHR.

It will be performed with a multimedia presentation.

The Chorale will perform American works, including one from Abbie Betinis, who set text from the Book of Psalms to music the day after Sept. 11 in response to the tragedies.

The Symphony Orchestra will perform a Leonard Bernstein piece.

“Our students are very talented and very dedicated to their art,” Grechesky said. “Even though we have only six rehearsals to prepare for the concert, I have no doubt that it will be an excellent and exciting performance.”

The showcase takes place Sept. 11 in Clowes Memorial Hall at 3 p.m. followed by a JCFA alumni reception.  Admission is free.

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