RIC Symphony Orchestra to premiere rock-inspired composition Dec. 7

Edward Markward
The Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra – with guest guitarist Joshua Millard – will premiere a composition by RIC adjunct faculty member James Bohn on Monday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m., in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall.

The title, “M.F., For Electric Guitar And Orchestra,” refers to both the term for the musical dynamic, mezzo forte, and the initials of Bohn’s wife, Melissa Freitas. Bohn said the guiding principle for his composition was, “What if Béla Bartók was in a progressive rock group in the '70s?”

James Bohn
“This is a first for us – to perform a work which essentially features a rock instrument,” said Edward Markward, conductor of the RIC Symphony Orchestra. “But this is a viable piece of 21st-century music, written by a first-rate living composer who happens to be a distinguished member of the Rhode Island College faculty family. We relish the opportunity, as always, to present the first performance of a worthy piece of music by a colleague.”

Guitar soloist Millard will perform on “MF.” Millard is a member of the music faculty at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. His past concerts have been hailed as “truly stunning… a tremendous display of artistry,” by The Oberlin Review, as well as possessing “verve, energy… technical security and intelligence,” according to La Guitarra.

Joshua Millard
Millard has appeared in concerts across the United States, including guest appearances at the Oberlin Conservatory, MIT, The Eastman School of Music Summer Guitar Festival, Southeastern Guitar Congress, and Boston’s King’s Chapel.

Also featured on the program are Roy Harris’s iconic Third Symphony, which opens the program, and César Franck’s Symphony in D Minor.

Harris was born in poverty in Oklahoma, which contrasts to the majority of his composer contemporaries. His music often touched on American subjects, and he became best known for his Symphony No. 3. The nationalistic elements of his work are reflected in his use of folk music within his compositions.

Franck is often thought of as one of the greatest organ improvisers of his time. His composition style is noted for its improvisatory feel and frequent modulations. The Symphony in D Minor is now regarded by many as one of the finest French symphonies of the 19th century.

General admission is $10, $5 for seniors and non-RIC students. Free for RIC students, faculty and staff. For information on RIC performing and fine art events, visit www.ric.edu/pfa.