Present day composers were featured at the Fall Concert presented by the Hiram College Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Conductor Tim Staron, Instructor of Violin and Viola, on Sunday, November 16, 2014. New works that were composed for the orchestra by Hiram faculty and guest composers were performed.
Randy Fusco, Professor of Piano, performed ‘Autumn’, written for piano and string orchestra by Steve Stanziano, Instructor of String Bass. Stanziano is also past president of the Cleveland Composers Guild and teaches at Cleveland State and Lakeland Community College as well as at Hiram.
Dawn Sonntag, Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Department, composed ‘Yukon Jack’, a piece for string orchestra built on her 2014 summer experiences while participating in the Alaska Geographic ‘Composing in the Wilderness’ program in Denali National Park. ‘Yukon Jack’ was conducted by Assistant Conductor, Alex Popovici (Stow Symphony Orchestra).
The newly formed and Hiram Student String Quartet performed ‘Dance Trilogy’ by Rebecca Burrington, organist and choir director at Divine Catholic Church in Kirtland. The quartet members are Meredith Fitschen-Brown (East Lansing, MI) and Christian O’Neil (Boardman, OH), violins, Emily Hruska (Boardman, OH), viola, and Jason Close (Brunswick, OH), cello. In 2012 the orchestra with Dawn Sonntag, contralto, performed Burrington’s song cycle, ‘Songs from an Appalachian Farm.’
A fourth premiered composition was ‘Unexpected Fanfare and March’, composed by Eric Hall (Capital City Symphony, Washington, D.C.). Hall is the son of Professor Emerita and orchestra violist Prudy Hall. Hall explained that he had composed a different piece for this performance, but had an unexpected inspiration and so that was the composition the orchestra performed. A previous composition by Hall, ‘Sunrise’, was written for and performed by the orchestra in 2012.
The program opened with ‘Baroque Variants’ by Kirt Mosier and concluded with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, BWV 1040.
Much to the audience’s delight, Professor Emerita Damaris Peters-Pike, provided readings of early humorous reviews of contemporary music from Nicholas Slonimsky’s ‘Lexicon of Musical Invective, Critical Assaults on Composers since Beethoven’s Time’.
Conducted by Tim Staron, the Hiram Chamber Orchestra has 20 members drawn from the student body, Hiram faculty, community players and qualified area high school students. High schools represented over the years include Garfield, Waterloo, Kent Roosevelt, Field, Stow-Monroe, Aurora, and home-schooled students. The orchestra’s next concert will occur at the end of the Spring 12-week term.