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Appalachian Symphony Orchestra performs major works by Schumann and Bruch

BOONE—When the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra performs works by Schumann and Bruch Nov. 21, they will be performing compositions each composer wrote for a beloved family member.

The concert, featuring Robert Schumann’s “Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120” and Max Bruch’s “Concerto in E Minor for Clarinet and Viola, Op. 88,” begins at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University. Admission is free.

Dr. Chung Park is the conductor. Hayes School of Music faculty members Dr. Andrea L. Cheeseman, clarinet, and Dr. Eric Koontz, viola, will join the symphony for the Bruch performance.

Schumann wrote his composition in 1841 and intended it to be a birthday present for his wife, Clara. He wrote in his diary that he intended to write a “Clara symphony” and “in it I will paint her a picture with flutes and oboes and harps.” The work was then shelved for 10 years after it received a cool reception when it was first performed in December. After heavy revisions, the reworked symphony was performed in 1853, this time dedicated to violinist Joseph Joachim.

The symphony is an early example of the cyclic form in symphonic writing, using recurring musical themes presented in different forms throughout the composition.

Bruch’s concerto was written 1911 for his son, Max Felix Bruch, who was a clarinetist. The composition was first performed in 1912 featuring the younger Bruch as a soloist. The composition, however, was soon “lost” in part to the audience’s lukewarm reception.

Bruch’s composition was not published until 1942 during the apex of the World War II, which made obtaining parts for study or performance a challenge. The symphony and other compositions by Bruch were later discovered in an London auction house in 1991, rekindling interest in the symphony.

Koontz presented one of the first European performances following the work’s rediscovery in January 2000 with colleagues of the National Orchestra of Catalunya (Catalonia) in Barcelona.

“I’m very pleased and proud to have had the opportunity to help move this beautiful and masterfully written work back into the public’s collective ear,” Koontz said. “When Chung Park invited me to play a concerto with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, I suggested we present Bruch’s Double Concerto here in North Carolina. Happily, he was enthusiastic about the work. Joining me for the performance is faculty clarinetist Dr. Andrea Cheeseman from the Hayes School of Music.”

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