RIC Symphony Orchestra to present world premiere, Dec. 6

The RIC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edward Markward, will premiere composer Harold Shapero’s “Trumpet Concerto” in a concert on Monday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall. Shapero will be in attendance at the concert.

Edward Markward
The performance will feature soloist Joseph Damian Foley on trumpet. Foley is an associate professor of music at RIC and is principal trumpet in the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.

The music program will also include a performance of Mozart’s “Overture to ‘The Magic Flute,” conducted by John Birt, student conductor. The first half of the concert will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Suite from ‘The Nutcracker’” ballet, which was described by Markward as an “early Christmas present to the community.”

Shapero’s “Trumpet Concerto” was written in 1995, but due to various circumstances, has not been premiered until now. This performance came about because of a connection between composer Shapero and RIC faculty member Barbara Kolb, who suggested that this might be a way to honor Shapero during the year in which he turned 90.

Joseph Damian Foley
“The work is three movements – fast-slow-fast – and has a lot of jazz-type licks mixed in with rather serious classical textures,” said Markward. “Much of the bluesy slow movement is absolutely gorgeous, while many sections of the outer movements are quite virtuosic in nature.”

Shapero started playing the piano at age seven, and by the time he began studying at Harvard University, he already had a portfolio of concert music written for string trio and solo piano as well as extensive experience as a jazz pianist.

During his time at Harvard, Shapero produced pieces showing Neoclassical influences, notably of Walter Piston, his teacher, and the middle-period compositions of Igor Stravinsky, who lectured at Harvard during Shapero’s undergraduate career.

After his graduation, Shapero and his music gained both fame and critical acclaim. During the 1940s Shapero won many major awards, including the Rome Prize, fellowships from the Naumburg, Guggenheim and Fulbright foundations, and both the Joseph H. Bearns and Gershwin Memorial composition prizes.

Harold Shapero
Both Stravinsky and Aaron Copland considered Shapero to be a talent to watch among developing American composers of that time. He was included in an article by Arthur Berger detailing some of the most important composers of the American mid-century Neoclassical movement.

Shapero taught at Brandeis University for 37 years, during which more awards and honors came his way, including a second Fulbright Fellowship and a composer-in-residence position at the American Academy in Rome.

General admission is $10; non-RIC students and seniors, $5; RIC students, faculty and staff, free; children under 12, free. For tickets, contact the RIC Box Office at (401) 456-8144.

Concert poster