RIC Symphony Orchestra performs R.I. premier of “Orbits” Oct. 12

The Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra opens its 2009-10 season with the Rhode Island premiere of “Orbits” by internationally acclaimed composer Aleksandra Vrebalov on Monday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall. Stephen Martorella, RIC faculty member and pianist, will perform Vincent D’Indy’s “Symphony on a French Mountain Air.”

Edward Markward
The program will open with a pre-concert talk with Alexsandra Vrebalov and RIC Symphony Orchestra conductor Edward Markward, at 7:15 p.m. The program concludes with Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1 in C Major.”

Vrebalov, a native of the former Yugoslavia, left Serbia in 1995 to continue her education in the United States. She holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Evan Chambers and Michael Daugherty. She obtained her master’s degree under Elinor Armer from the San Francisco Conservatory.

Additionally, Vrebalov studied composition with Miroslav Statkic at Novi Sad University, Zoran Erić at Belgrade University, and Ivana Loudova at the Prague Academy of Music. Vrebalov currently teaches at the City College of New York.

Various artists including the Kronos Quartet, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Jorge Caballero, the Sausalito Quartet, Dusan Tynek Dance Company, IJsbreker, and the Moravian Philharmonic have performed Vrebalov’s works.

Aleksandra Vrebalov
In 2005, Vrebalov’s “Lila” premiered at Carnegie Hall with violinist Ana Milosavljevic.

That year, the premiere of her more developed orchestral work “Orbits” (2002) opened the 30th Novi Sad Music Festival and was broadcast live on national television. In “Orbits,” Vrebalov uses overlapping densities of sonorities and rhythmic proportions such as the Fibonacci series to portray her idiosyncratic post-modern conception of musica universalis.

She also worked on the score for “Sleeping Beauty,” an experimental film introduced at New York City’s Anthology Film Archives. Her music for the ballet “The Widow's Broom” (2004) based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book of the same title, has been performed on Halloween by the Festival Ballet Providence.

In 2006, she was commissioned by the R.I. Civic Chorale & Orchestra to compose “Stations,” a work for a large chorus, soloists and orchestra.

Edward Markward, musical director of R.I. Civic Chorale & Orchestra and conductor of Festival Ballet Providence, conducted the world premieres of both of Vrebalov’s works. Markward, in his 37th year at the helm of the RIC Symphony Orchestra, will lead the Oct. 12 concert. He teaches conducting and coaches voice at RIC.

Stephen Martorella
Stephen Martorella, an adjunct instructor in piano and organ at RIC, is currently Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, R.I., and organist for Temple Shalom in Middletown.

In 1989, Martorella was both soloist and conductor with the American Wind Symphony in a joint concert with the Wind Orchestra of the Soviet Army in St. Petersburg’s (formerly Leningrad) October Hall. He has also appeared as soloist in Belfast, London, Paris, and Miami and on live broadcasts as part of the Kerkrade Summer Festival in Netherlands.

Martorella began his studies at The Julliard School in New York and later attended Mannes College of Music, Queens College at the City University of New York, and Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford. His piano teachers included Josef Raieff, Nadia Reisenberg, Artur Balsam and Murray Perahia

A resident of Rhode Island since 1975, Martorella has made frequent appearances with such groups as the Rhode Island Civic Chorale, the Rhode Island State Ballet, the Providence New Music Ensemble, Music on the Hill, the Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Series, Swanhurst Chorale and the American Band.

Admission to the Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra concert is $10 for the general public, $5 for seniors and non-RIC students, and free for RIC students, faculty, and staff. To purchase tickets, call the RIC box office at (401) 456-8144 or visit www.ric.edu/pfa.