School of Music centennial festival finale features three ensembles

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Logo for the School of Music's 100th anniversary.

The centennial festival finale is Oct. 25.

KALAMAZOO—The finale concert of the School of Music's centennial festival, featuring the University Symphony Orchestra, Grand Chorus and Western Winds, will kick off at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

The University Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus—comprised of 160 students from the University Chorale, Collegiate Singers and Cantus Femina, along with a few select students from the University and members of the community—will perform Richard Danielpour's monumental work "An American Requiem."

The work will be conducted by Bruce Uchimura, and featured vocal soloists include local mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Cowan, tenor James Doing and baritone Stephen Lancaster. Western Winds, an ensemble comprised of graduate students and their faculty mentors and conducted by Scott Boerma, will open the concert with Danielpour's "Icarus," a work that includes brass, percussion and two pianos.

An American Requiem

Danielpour's "An American Requiem" was composed in 2001 and subsequently dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack, as well as a tribute to American soldiers in all wars. It is a deeply moving piece which is scored for large orchestra, chorus and three vocal soloists. The work uses the traditional Roman Catholic mass as text, as well as writings by Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Michael Harper and Hilda Doolittle, as well as an anonymous African American spiritual. Danielpour wrote this work to honor American soldiers and to analyze the insanity of war, after interviewing many of those who served in past American wars.

The composer is expected to be in the audience for the performance.

For more information about the concert, visit wmich.edu/music or call (269) 387-4667.