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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 77th Season

Celebrating Women of Music

Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Cordier Auditorium
Debra Lynn, Conductor

  Symphony No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 36 Louise Farrenc  
 

I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Adagio - cantabile
III. Scherzo - Vivace
IV. Finale - Allegro

 
       
  Kandinsky Suite Debra Lynn  
 

I. Improvisation 30 "Cannons"
II. Blue Segment
III. Several Circles

 
  Mikautadze Dance Theatre
Emily Keisler, Tracy Tritz
Nina Shaw, Kelsey Patnoude
Ann Brake, Eryn Lynn (understudy)
Choreography by Elizabeth Mikautadze
 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra Dame Ethel Smyth  
 

I. Allegro Moderato
II. Elegy - Adagio
III. Finale - Allegro

 
  Kristin Westover, violin
Christen Adler, horn
 
       
 

The Adams Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra Dame Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
 
 

Ethel Smyth (she was made Dame of the British Empire at the age of 36) was born into an upper middle-class, but conventionally-minded, family that disapproved of her choice to become a composer. In spite of her father's opposition, she went to Germany to study at the Leipzig Conservatory when she was nineteen years old. She was a strong-willed woman, and decided that her instruction at the conservatory was inadequate and, after one year, left it to study with a private tutor.

Her greatest successes were with her operas, with libretti in French and German, which she wrote herself. Her most successful opera was The Wreckers (in French).

Ethel Smyth's first orchestral composition, the Symphonic Serenade, was written when she was thirty-two. The Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra is a late work, written in 1927, when she was on the verge of deafness, after which she remained active by writing a number of books and articles. She was very active in the women's movement, and some critics think that might explain her waning fame as a composer. On the other hand, while her compositions were very dynamic and engaging, they were also very derivative, and some say that she never developed a personal voice.

She gave up composing for two years to devote herself to the suffragettes' cause, and spent two years in Holloway Prison for her pains (and for throwing stones through the windows of conservatives opposed to the vote for women). The suffragettes had adopted her March of the Women as their anthem. Sir Thomas Beecham once visited the prison where he saw a group of women singing that anthem while the composer, from an upper window, conducted them with a toothbrush.

Some of the older members of this audience might remember the once popular American organist, Ethel Smith. The "Y" in Dame Ethel's name is pronounced as a long "I" ("eye") in the middle of her name.


 
       
  Kandinsky Suite Debra Lynn
(b. 1963)
 
 

When I read the excellent notes by Debra Lynn, writing about her latest composition, the Kandinsky Suite, the first thing that came to mind was "synesthesia." Isn't that what everyone thought? The second thing that came to mind was that Wassily Kandinsky, the painter, was a composer manqué, or "failed composer." At least, that is what some critics have said about him.

What does "synesthesia" mean? The simplest and broadest definition is that it is the association of two otherwise separate senses. In its strictest sense (regarding music) it refers to a person who sees a specific color when he or she hears a specific note. As the late neurologist Oliver Sachs put it, "For most of us, the association of color and music is at the level ot metaphor." For example, some composers simply color the stage in a way that they think relates to the music being played. Many composers (too many to name) believe that certain colors are logically related to certain tones or chords. We often speak of "tone-color."

There are understandable emotional connections between color and music. If the music is in a minor key, and sounds mysterious or even eerie, many people, if asked, would choose blue as an accompanying color. Stage directors commonly light the stage with specific colors during appropriate moments, either in a concert or a drama. British composer Arthur Bliss wrote A Colour Symphony in which each movement is associated with a color and its emotional characteristics. Bliss was not known to have synesthesia in the neurological sense of the word.

I'm not so sure about Wassily Kandinsky. He is quoted as saying, "The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with base [sic] notes, or dark lake with the treble." Was he actually seeing the colors, or speaking metaphorically?

Debra Lynn has chosen a difficult genre for this work: serialism, or twelve-tone music. She explains it quite well in her own notes, but the problem is that she has chosen to write "program music," that is, music that tells a story, or at least refers to real-life situations. Program music is the purview of Romanticism, and twelve-tone is about as far away from Romanticism as possible. The strict following of the Schönberg system would have made such an undertaking almost prohibitively difficult. Debra Lynn has adopted a modified version of the rules, which makes such a task merely very difficult. And yet, she pulls it off!

Would everyone have interpreted these paintings in the same way? Of course not. Abstract Expressionism invites the viewer to create his own interpretation. I was standing at an exhibition next to an Abstract Expressionist, when a viewer came up to her and poured out his interpretation of her painting. She listened patiently, and then said that the man was absolutely right, and she was glad that he had gotten that much out of her painting. When he left, I asked her what that was all about. Her answer was that she was glad the he had been able to interpret her painting at all, and that any interpretation confirmed his engagement with her work. I suspect that Kandinsky would be very happy with Debra Lynn's interpretation of the three paintings that prompted the Kandinsky Suite.


 
       
  Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 36 Louise Farrenc
(1804-1875)
 
 

Louise Dumont Farrenc was the wife of Arstide Farrenc, a woodwind performer and music publisher who knew good music when he heard it. Louise had become a pianist of professional quality in her adolescence, and by the time she was in her early twenties had published a series of études that became required study for all piano students at the Paris Conservatory.

The Dumont family had a long history of excellence in both music and painting. Louise Farrenc carried on that tradition, and published a number of important orchestral works in addition to her piano compositions. Her work was praised by Robert Schumann, among others.

She was the only woman of the 19th Century to hold the prestigious post of Professor of Piano at the Conservatory, a post she held for more than thirty years until her retirement. Her success at large scale orchestral works such as her three symphonies and overtures was amazing considering the prejudice she had to overcome. Not just prejudice against women composers, but against symphonic music at a time when the musical life of Paris was geared primarily to opera and other theatrical music. Even Berlioz had difficulty overcoming those odds.

There were quite a few notable female composers at that time, but most of them wrote shorter pieces meant for soirees, or private concerts, and most of those composers were, in a sense, part-time composers. The fact that some of them, such as Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn, are better known than Louise Farrenc might be the result of their having far more famous relatives.

Farrenc's Symphony No. 3 is in the traditional four movements, the first of which is in sonata form, as expected. Audiences will very likely notice a similarity to Beethoven, which is not surprising since German music was the dominant genre in Europe at that time. Paris was one of the few musical centers resistant to the German influence, and therefore uninterested in symphonies. If you wanted to get ahead in the musical life of Paris, you had to write operas. Farrenc was very successful in her time, but her works disappeared from the repertoire until recently.

Although the piano was Louise's instrument of choice, she was remarkably prolific in the area of chamber music. Besides her three symphonies and two overtures for full orchestra, she wrote two quintets, a sextet, a nonet, and, of course, many piano works.

This work runs for about half an hour, and the movements are designated as follows:

Adagio - Allegro
Adagio - cantabile
Scherzo. Vivace
Finale. Allegro


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Elizabeth Smith, Concertmaster
Kayla Michaels +^
Thomas Dean, Student concertmaster +^
Rachel Felver
Kristine Papillon
Ilona Orban

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Wendy Kleintank
Alexandria Roskos +^
Colleen Phillips
Pablo Vasquez
Will Stanley
Tiffany Hanna +
Abby McVay +

Viola
Julie Sadler *
Carrie Shank +^
Margaret Sklenar
Renée Neher +^
Olivia Jenks +^
Courtney Yount +

Cello
Robert Lynn *
Michael Rueff +^
Chris Minning
AJ Jabarin

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
Katie Huddleston +^
Rod Sroufe

Piccolo/Flute
Kathy Davis *
Kathy Urbani
Alyssa Rocheck +^

Oboe
George Donner *
Nyssa Tierney
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Angela Ebert +^

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Freddie Lapierre +^

Horn
Matt Weidner *
John Morse
Laura Dickey +^

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Mykayla Neilson +^
Grant Ebert +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Chris Hartman +^

Tuba
Nathan Crain +^

Timpani
Dave Robbins *

Percussion
Dave Robbins *
Mackenzi Lowry +^
Kevin Friermood +^
Haley Neilson +
Lawrence Neumann +
Hailee Kimbrell +

Harp
Alan Chambers

Piano
Pamela Haynes

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MU student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
** Denotes assistant principal
 
Elizabeth MikautadzeElizabeth Mikautadze discovered the joy of dancing at an early age with the Movement Laboratories Youth Ensemble in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. During that time, she was chosen to study abroad at The Hungarian Ballet School. Later, she was accepted into The Boston Conservatory, under The Jan Veen Scholarship, where she earned her BFA in Dance. While studying at The Boston Conservatory, Elizabeth set her first serious dance work and immediately choreographing became her passion! To further her dance knowledge she moved to NYC and began studying at the Paul Taylor School, The Alvin Ailey Dance Center, and at The Martha Graham Dance Center, where she became a Martha Graham Ensemble member. In 2000, Elizabeth joined Mereminne Dancers and Buglisi/Foreman Dance Company, and also had the privilege of working with the late Pearl Lang as an understudy.

Before moving to the Midwest, she presented her choreography at The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater and WAX Works. Elizabeth continues her journey in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The dream of collaborating with a company of artists through the language of dance turned into reality when she became Artistic Director of Mikautadze Dance Theatre (MDT) in May, 2008. Her choreography has been performed by MDT in The Indiana Dance Festival, The Taste of the Arts, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's Purely Dance Show and in several studio showings in Fort Wayne. Elizabeth is currently an adjunct professor of ballet and modern dance at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and is also a teacher at Elite Dance Center.
 
 
Mikautadze Dance Theatre (MDT) was founded in May, 2008, and became a company-in-residence at Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2012. Mikautadze Dance Theatre is dedicated to bringing the art of professional modern and contemporary dance to Fort Wayne and surrounding communities through dance performance and the advancement of creative movement and dance education. MDT's ultimate goal is to create a unique theatrical experience by producing work that is a synthesis of many art forms. They strive to reach this goal through collaborative efforts both within the company and with other artists.
 
 
Debra LynnDebra Lynn serves as Director of Choral Organizations and Vocal Studies at Manchester University. She teaches applied voice, conducting, vocal pedagogy, opera workshop, and music for stage and film. She directs the A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers, and Manchester Symphony Chorus. Her ensembles have performed throughout the U.S., including at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY, Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame University, and Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Her A Cappella Choir has traveled to Italy, Austria, and London. Debra holds a D.A. in music with an emphasis in choral conducting and voice performance from Ball State University. Prior degrees from Truman State University and William Jewel College include emphases in choral conducting, voice performance and music education. As a composer, Dr. Lynn write both instrumental and vocal music, and has received several commissions including Lily and Plowshares Foundation requests. She is married to cellist and tubist, Robert Lynn.
 
 
Christen AdlerChristen Adler, a native of Covington, Virginia, is an active performer with an emerging reputation across the country. Now residing in Colorado, she performs regularly with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, various other chamber groups, and is the principal horn for the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of her father, Scott Humphries.

She received her formal musical training from Virginia Tech (BA) and the University of Michigan (MM). Even as a student, Christen's professional performing credits included the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Lynchburg Opera, and the Virginia Tech Faculty Brass Ensemble.

Her primary teachers include highly acclaimed jazz hornist and former 4th horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Adam Unsworth; Detroit Symphony Orchestra member Bryan Kennedy; Abigail Pack, Associate Professor of Horn at University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Wallace Easter, Associate Professor of Horn at Virginia Tech.

Christen currently teaches general music at Maplewood Elementary School in Greeley, Colorado. She lives with her husband and noted trumpeter John Adler along with their Australian Shepherd, Luna, and beloved cat, Alex Humphries.
 
 
Kristin WestoverKristin Westover, violinist, received her BS in Violin Performance and Business from Indiana University at South Bend and her MM in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her major teachers include Susan Freier, David Cerone and David Updegraff, and she has done post-graduate work with Tiberius Klausner and Carolyn Plummer. Kristin has been a full-time violinist in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 1990.

She has performed in the South Bend Symphony, the Des Moines Symphony, the Cedar Rapids Symphony, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston (SC) Symphony, the Florida West Coast Symphony, the West Virginia Symphony, and the New World Symphony Orchestra. Locally she has also played in the regional orchestras of Muncie, Marion, Anderson, Manchester, Lafayette, Lima, and Kalamazoo. She has attended major music festivals throughout the US, including the Aspen and Spoleto music festivals.

She currently performs with the string quartet A440 Strings. Kristin maintains a private studio of students in Fort Wayne and previously taught for eight years in the Goshen College Preparatory Department. She has also held administrative positions in the Finance, Operations, and Education Departments of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.