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University Symphony Orchestra ‘goes outdoors’ in the upcoming Student Showcase concert

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Image: PLU Symphony Orchestra, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

March 9, 2018
By Kate Williams
Outreach Manager

Every year, the University Symphony Orchestra features a Student Showcase concert for selected students to perform as soloists with the orchestra or to have their compositions premiered. This year, the concert will be performed on Tuesday, March 20th at 8pm in Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center.

There will be two students featured this year– Meagen Gaskill and Dalton Rouse.

Meagan Gaskill will be performing Bernhard Molique’s Flute Concerto. Dr. Svend Ronning, Chair of Stringed Instruments, was one of the professors to hear Meagan’s audition in the Student Showcase Competition.

“I first met Meagan at her high school in Niwot, Colorado when I was on sabbatical and she was on spring break from PLU. During her spring break, she had volunteered to help her high school teacher with music coaching. I have since learned that this kind of selfless service is a theme in Meagan’s life. As Faculty Advisor to Mu Phi Epsilon, I see how much she gives to this organization musically and socially every day– she is truly and exemplary Lute, modeling the very best in scholarly excellence and service. And– she’s a fabulous flute player, too! I’m delighted she was selected to perform in the Student Showcase this year– no one could be more qualified.”

When speaking directly with Megan, she offered the following, “I will be playing movements from Molique’s Concerto in D minor, who was only 21 when he wrote this piece. The concerto was written for flutist Theobald Böhm who is credited with inventing the modern flute and was premiered in 1823. Molique published two versions of this piece. The second version, which I will be performing, has a completely different Andante (second) movement which was not premiered until over 40 years after the original version.”

Another student featured in the show, Dalton Rouse, was also a winner of the Student Showcase Competition for his composition, Wisp and Willow. This will be the world premiere performance.

“My newest work titled Wisp and Willow, began as an experiment in non-functional chord progressions. The chords, which comprise most of the pitch material, are various four-note sonorities. The “wisps”, heard mostly in the harp and high woodwinds, arpeggiate quickly up and down these chords. With a lack of strict tonal harmony, thematic material must be carefully positioned upon chords with common tones. The main theme, which first appears in a solo bassoon line, constantly adjusts its sense of tonality, resulting in a peculiar yet satisfying melody.”

In addition to the two works described, Huw Edwards, Visiting Director of Orchestral Activities added, “the Orchestra will also be playing the first movements from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (Pastoral), and Bruckner’s 4th Symphony- part of the reason why this concert is called “PLUSO Goes Outdoors!”

“Anton Bruckner’s Symphony #4 was inspired by the mountainous area of Upper Austria, and portrays the sounds of nature and vast sense of space. When I first saw Lagerquist Hall, about 10 years ago, it said “Bruckner” to me, as he was a famous organist and composed in very resonant spaces (such as Linz Cathedral and the Abbey at St. Florian– where he is buried).  I am a big Bruckner devotee (few are) and I don’t think PLUSO has ever done much Bruckner, so this year I thought we MUST do some of his music!”

Tickets are available on Eventbrite. $10 – general admission, $5 – seniors (60+), military, alumni, PLU community (faculty, staff, families) and free – PLU students and 18 and younger.