WMU News

Western String Festival celebrates 25th anniversary

Oct. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The the 25th annual Western String Festival will close with a free public concert beginning at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Miller Auditorium.

The program will feature two high school Festival Orchestras, the Festival Honors Orchestra, and the University Symphony Orchestra. In celebration of the festival's 25th year, the Honors Orchestra will present the world premiere of "In Good Times" by WMU composer Richard Adams. Commissioned by the Western String Festival, the work is supported by an Outreach Program Grant from the American String Teachers Association.

String players from 14 southwest Michigan high schools (click for list) will gather on the WMU campus on Oct. 9 for the annual orchestra clinic sponsored by the WMU School of Music. The day-long festival includes rehearsals, sectionals, and clinic sessions conducted by WMU string faculty members Renata Artman Knific (violin), Igor Fedotov (viola), Bruce Uchimura (cello), and Tom Knific (double bass), as well as University Symphony Orchestra conductor Bruce Uchimura and guest conductor Richard Piippo from Hope College.

Richard Adams, composer of "In Good Times," has received repeated recognition for his music through awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, the Society of Composers, Inc., the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Charles Ives Center for American Music. He has been commissioned by, and received performances from, numerous professional ensembles including the Memphis Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Albany Symphony, the Louisiana Sinfonietta, the Sequitur ensemble (New York), and the Dogs of Desire, a multimedia ensemble dedicated to the music of emerging composers. His works are being recorded and performed nationally with increasing regularity; Brutal Reality, his most recent orchestral work, was recorded by the Albany Symphony and released commercially on Albany Records.

Inaugurated in 1975 the Western String Festival was established by WMU symphony conductor Herbert Butler in an attempt to recognize the work of string students and string teachers during the time of year when their woodwind, brass, and percussion counterparts are preoccupied with the marching band season. Butler was WMU's cello professor from 1960 to 1983. One of the Festival Orchestras is named in his memory. The other Festival Orchestra is named in memory of Julius Stulberg, who taught violin and conducted the University Symphony Orchestra at WMU from 1945 to 1972, and was conductor of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony for 31 years.

Western String Festival
Participating high schools and their directors

Battle Creek Central ­ Delores Philp, director
Battle Creek Lakeview ­ Tom Haupt, director
East Kentwood ­ Anne Thompson, director
Forest Hills Central ­ Lynne Kleeman, director
Greenville ­ Susan Gould, director
Kalamazoo Central ­ James Roach, director
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix ­ James Roach, director
Marshall ­ Silvia Sidorane, director
Muskegon Mona Shores ­ Tim Staudacher, director
Portage Central ­ Mary Hinderliter, director
Portage Northern ­ John Marttila, director
South Haven ­ Jessica Kotch, director
St. Joseph ­ Steve Reed, director
Sturgis ­ Eliot Gitelman, director

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Media contact: Kevin West, 616 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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