The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra’s youth orchestra program (WYSO), will present its spring concert on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at Seton Hill University, Greensburg. The concert is directed by Morrie Brand, and is free and open to the public.
The WYSO Philharmonia, comprised of mostly middle school musicians, will open the program with the first movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, followed by the slow movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The Philharmonia closes its portion of the concert with a premiere performance of a work composed especially for them by conductor Morrie Brand called Balalaikan Holiday.
“I knew the orchestra would enjoy a piece written in the Russian style since they have played at least one Russian composition per concert since the orchestra began in 2015. For the basis of the piece, I selected the balalaika – a three-stringed, triangular-shaped Russian guitar. This instrument can be plucked like any guitar or can do tremolos as a means of sustaining pitch, so these characteristics are featured in the piece, most notably in the string section. The orchestra has really taken to the piece. There were times when what I wrote did not quite work for some sections, so I changed the part to accommodate their comfort level. In this way, the piece was composed uniquely for them. The students got the chance to see how composition process can evolve,” said Brand.
The WYSO Philharmonic, comprised of mostly high school students, opens with Verdi’s Triumphal March from Aida, followed by Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt. Concertmaster Andrew Chung is featured in a performance of Wieniawski’s Legende, as winner of the annual concerto competition. The concert closes with selections from Bernstein’s popular West Side Story.