Spring Arts Festival to feature varieties of musical experience

The Rhode Island College Performing and Fine Arts Commission, in conjunction with the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, will present the annual Spring Arts Festival on March 2, 5, 8 and 9.

This year’s festival will showcase the diverse talents of the music program’s faculty and students. There will be large selection of modern music as well works by two very important forebears, J. S. Bach and Johannes Brahms. Highlights include a violin concerto that Aaron Copland never wrote (it was orchestrated by Gerald Elias from Copland’s violin sonata), a world premiere by noted composer and Rhode Island resident Barbara Kolb, and a collaboration between the RIC Wind Ensemble and Dance Company.

RIC Wind Ensemble
The festival for 2012, which rotates each year among the various constituents that receive funding from the Performing and Fine Arts Commission, features four music concerts: Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Faculty Chamber Players plus the Proteus String Quartet, and college choral ensembles. Edward Markward is coordinator for the festival.

Friday, March 2
Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble
"Songs and Dances”
8 p.m., Sapinsley Hall, Nazarian Center

This concert will feature a collaboration between the RIC Dance Company and the RIC Wind Ensemble. Original choreography by Kathy Gordon Smith, an adjunct faculty member in the college’s dance program, will be accompanied by a live performance of John Adams' “Scratchband.”

Other pieces include Charles Griffes’ “Poem,” featuring senior Kaitlyn Braman on flute; Arturo Marquez’s “Danzon No. 2”; Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep”; and Frank Ticheli’s “Angels in the Architecture.”

Rob Franzblau conducts.

Monday, March 5
Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra
“Copland and Bernstein: The American Duo”
17th Annual Samuel and Esther Chester Performance Award Concert
8 p.m., Auditorium in Roberts Hall

Violinist Zhongling Li, will be the soloist in Aaron Copland’s “Sonata for Violin and Orchestra,” orchestrated by Gerald Elias on the occasion of Mr. Copland’s 90th birthday. Li is the 2006 Harvard Musical Association Arthur Foote Award Winner and appears through the generosity of Samuel and Esther Chester.

RIC Symphony Orchestra
Other works are Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to ‘Candide,’” Copland’s “Quiet City” and Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story.’”

Edward Markward conducts.

Thursday, March 8
Rhode Island College Faculty Chamber Players
“A Concert for Young and Old”
8 p.m., Auditorium in Roberts Hall

The RIC Faculty Woodwind Quintet will present the world premiere of Barbara Kolb’s “Once Upon a Clarinet,” with clarinet soloist Ian Greitzer and guest soprano Diana McVey.

The composer has said of the work:

“Once Upon a Clarinet,” a poem written by Robert Gresh in 1964, personifies the instruments of the woodwind quintet involved in the creation and theft of a melody. The soloist, Ian Greitzer (clarinet) acting as the protagonist, passes the melody from one instrument to the next during which time it is stolen. The story line continues with the clarinet in pursuit. In addition to the quintet, the poem is narrated by Diana McVey who contributes her own interpretation to the antics of the quintet. Ultimately, this work should appeal to both children and adults alike while providing an introduction to the personalities of the woodwind quintet.

Also on the program will be the Proteus Quartet performing David Balkrishnan’s exotic “Spider Dreams” and Astor Piazzolla’s exciting “Four Tango.”

RIC Chorus
In addition, Edward Markward will lead the Faculty Chamber Players, along with students and friends, in Aaron Copland’s Pulitzer Prize-score “Applachian Spring Suite.”

Friday, March 9
Rhode Island College Choral Groups
“Singing and Dancing”
8 p.m., Sapinsley Hall, Nazarian Center

The featured work will be “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit,” BWV 106, by J. S. Bach, which will be performed by the RIC Chorus and baroque instrumentalists. The RIC Chamber Singers will perform selections from Brahms’ “Neue Liebeslieder Walzer,” Op. 65, with pianists Judith Lynn Stillman and Christina Breindel.

Other ensembles include the RIC Women’s Chorus and Men’s Chorus.

The RIC Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Women’s Chorus are conducted by Teresa Coffman and the Men’s Chorus is conducted by Nicholas Laroche.

Admission to the Chester concert on March 5 is free. All other performances are general admission $10; seniors and non-RIC students $5; RIC students, faculty and staff free. For tickets, call (401) 456-8144. For further information, call (401) 456-9883.