FSU Symphony Orchestra closes season with world premiere

The final orchestral concert of the Florida State University College of Music’s 2016-2017 concert season will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

The concert promises to be a spectacular musical event highlighting the quality of the college’s orchestral and composition programs and celebrating the contributions of several of its faculty.

The evening will feature the world premiere of “Life for Life,” a new orchestral work by Aaron Spotts (b. 1980), who completed his master of music in composition at Florida State University and is currently a doctoral student studying with Professor Ladislav Kubik. Spotts is the first holder of the Zwilich Graduate Assistantship in Music Composition, supported by the generosity of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and the Rintels Foundation represented by Arthur Stern.

Recipients of this funding spend a year of their doctoral studies consulting with Alexander Jimenez, professor of conducting and director of orchestral activities at FSU, participating in rehearsals of the University Philharmonia and the University Symphony Orchestra, and composing an original work as the culmination of the year spent as the Zwilich Assistant.

The symphony will also perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, the first of a series of three symphonies Mozart composed in the summer of 1788. Although the composer lived only three more years, these were the final symphonies that Mozart wrote. Symphony No. 39 has a majestic overture-like slow introduction, one of only three such slow introductions among his symphonies. Some scholars believe Mozart’s final three symphonies form a single grand work that shows the composer at the height of his expressive and creative powers.

FSU's Alexander Jimenez, professor of conducting, and Read Gainsford, professor of piano, will team up to present a concerto with the symphony as a tribute to late faculty member Joel Hastings.
FSU’s Alexander Jimenez and Read Gainsford will team up to present a concerto with the symphony as a tribute to late faculty member Joel Hastings.

FSU’s Read Gainsford, professor of piano, will join Maestro Jimenez and the symphony as the featured soloist in a performance of the majestic Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major by Johannes Brahms. The concerto was composed by the great Viennese master between 1878 and 1881. It is in four movements, unusual for a 19th-century concerto, which adds to the work’s artistic scope and aesthetic impact, as well as its length and demands on its soloist. The concerto includes a number of unusual structural and dramatic features, including a prominent cello solo that introduces the third movement.

FSU faculty member Joel Hastings, who passed away unexpectedly in May 2016, was originally scheduled to perform the concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra. Jimenez and Gainsford agreed to perform the work together with the symphony as a tribute to Hastings.

Tickets for the performance may be purchased through the College of Music Box Office at (850) 645-7949. Tickets are $10 general admission, $7 seniors/non-FSU students and free for students with an FSU ID.