Orchestras

ASU’s orchestras provide high-level training for music majors and minors as well as opportunities for non-music majors to continue playing at the college level.

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Past Seasons

2018-2019 Season

2018-2019 Season

Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Lutoslawski
Saturday, Sept.22, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Michelle Nam, Piano, 2018 Concerto Competition Winner

The ASU Symphony Orchestra opens the 2018-19 season with a powerhouse program of virtuosic works by Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Lutosławski. The program opens with Strauss’s explosive tone poem Don Juan, which launched him to international fame when he was only 25 years old. The Rachmaninoff Rhapsody continues the journey with its sweeping brilliance, and the stirring folk melodies of Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra conclude the evening.

Strauss: Don Juan
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
          Michelle Nam, Piano, 2018 ASU Concerto Competition Winner
Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra

Graduate Recital
Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Katzin Concert Hall
Free admission

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Michelle Di Russo and Yun Song Tay, Conductors

Assistant conductor Yun Song Tay leads the ASU Chamber Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, an 1832 masterwork that still resonates in culture today through concert halls, movies, and video games. Assistant conductor Michelle Di Russo then leads the orchestra in Anna Clyne’s powerful meditation on love and loss that draws from the poetry of Thich Nhat Hanh. The concert concludes with Di Russo conducting Mozart’s soaring Symphony No. 29.

Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
Anna Clyne: Within Her Arms (2009)
Mozart: Symphony No. 29

Frankenstein!!
Part of the ASU Frankenstein Bicentennial Project
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, 3 p.m.
Mesa Arts Center

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
David Schildkret, Chansonnier

The ASU Chamber Orchestra embarks on a musical exploration of Frankenstein themes as part of the ASU Frankenstein Bicentennial Project. Concerts at ASU Gammage and the Mesa Arts Center present HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!!, featuring a fantastical protagonist and an ensemble that blurs the lines between classical and popular music. The second half of the concert will present the 1931 black and white film Frankenstein with Shapiro’s film score performed live. Guests are invited to arrive an hour before each concert to participate in Frankenstein-related activities and explore the many facets of the Frankenstein story through innovative projects and perspectives from across the disciplines.

Gruber: Frankenstein!!
          David Schildkret, Chansonnier
Frankenstein (1931 film) with music by Michael Shapiro

Bernstein MASS
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, 2 p.m.

ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra, Music Theatre and Opera, ASU Choirs and Phoenix Boys Choir
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Jubilant Sykes, Baritone

Leonard Bernstein’s remarkable and controversial work commissioned for the opening of The Kennedy Center, Mass, is performed in celebration of the American icon’s centennial. The production features renowned guest artist Jubilant Sykes as the Celebrant alongside the ASU Symphony Orchestra, ASU Choirs, Music Theatre and Opera, the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and the Phoenix Boys Choir​. Written at a time when the world was facing profound crises of identity, faith, and morality Mass resonates as deeply today as it did during the Vietnam War. It is a piece that celebrates the boundaries Bernstein expanded as a composer and artist, as well as the profound depths that are possible in a journey through faith and doubt.

Bernstein: Mass
          Jubilant Sykes, Baritone

Shostakovich and Strings
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, 4 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Arts
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Tempe Center for the Arts

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Yuhui Li, Piano, 2018 Concerto Competition Winner

The ASU Symphony Orchestra presents a dramatic program of Eastern European works influenced by events of World War II. Core repertoire works by Shostakovich and Bartok are performed in dialogue with the avant-garde Threnody and the masterpiece of neoclassicism Concerto for String Orchestra by pioneering female composer Grażyna Bacewicz.

Bacewicz: Concerto for String Orchestra
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2
          Yuhui Li, Piano, 2018 ASU Concerto Competition Winner
Penderecki: Threnody to The Victims of Hiroshima
Bartok: Divertimento

Graduate Recital                 
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Katzin Concert Hall
Free Admission

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Michelle Di Russo, Yun Song Tay and Francisco Hernández, Conductors

Three assistant conductors from the studio of Jeffery Meyer present an enticing and eclectic chamber orchestra program of works by Webern, Dvorak and Mihaud.

Webern: Concerto op. 24
Dvorak: Serenade for Wind Instruments
Milhaud: La Création du monde, op. 81

Brahms Symphony No. 2
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Robert Spring, Clarinet

The world premiere of Rodney Rogers’ Clarinet Concerto will be performed by the ASU Chamber Orchestra and clarinetist Robert Spring. In addition to featuring these two world-renowned ASU faculty members, this must-see concert opens with Beethoven’s heroic Leonore Overture No. 3 and concludes with Brahms’ radiant Second Symphony.

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
Rodney Rogers: Clarinet Concerto (2019) (World Premiere)
          Robert Spring, clarinet
Brahms: Symphony No. 2

The Molly Blank Fund Performance for Students concert
Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Michelle Di Russo, Yun Song Tay and Francisco Hernández, Conductors

ASU’s three orchestral assistant conductors lead an educational and entertaining program for K-12 students featuring the music of Mussorgsky and Wagner. For more information, please visit ASU Gammage Performances for Students.

Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition and Projeto Arcomusical
Sunday, March 31, 2019, 3 p.m.

Tempe Center for the Arts

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Projeto Arcomusical, Berimbau Ensemble

The ASU Symphony Orchestra welcomes Projeto Arcomusical, a world music sextet that reimagines the Afro-Brazilian musical bow, the Berimbau. The group will premiere Elliott Cole’s new concerto written for the ensemble and the ASU Symphony Orchestra, as well as an opening work by one of the group’s own members, Alexis C. Lamb. Mussorgsky’s blazing masterwork Pictures at an Exhibition brings the program to a close.

Alexis C. Lamb: Splintered Light (2019) (World Premiere)
Elliot Cole: Roda Grande (2019) (World Premiere)
          Projeto Arcomusical, Berimbau Ensemble
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)

Stravinsky and Wagner
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7:30, p.m.

Tempe Center for the Arts

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor

Gordon Hawkins, Baritone
Stephanie Weiss, Mezzo-Soprano

The ASU Symphony brings the 2018-19 season to a close with Petrushka, Stravinsky’s second masterpiece written for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, depicting the deadly love triangle between puppets who suddenly come to life. The first half presents some of Wagner’s most inspired music from his greatest operas featuring ASU’s own Gordon Hawkins and Stephanie Weiss.

Wagner: Ride of the Walküre from Die Walküre
Wagner: Selections from Lohengrin and Die Walküre
          Gordon Hawkins, Baritone, Stephanie Weiss, Mezzo-Soprano
Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947)

2017-2018 Season

2017-2018 Season

Phenomenon Scheherazade & Beyond
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor

The ASU Symphony Orchestra will open its 2017-18 season with a diverse and innovative musical journey. Guest composer Narong Prangcharoen (Thailand) and sitar virtuoso Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan (India) will join the ASUSO, (re)framing Philip Glass' Offering in celebration of his 80th birthday. The journey will conclude with the 1001 nights of Rimsky·Korsakov's classic Scheherazade.

Modern Classics Adams, Ligeti & Stravinsky
Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Katzin Concert Hall

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
David Russell, cellist

Hailed as "superb" and "incisive" in The Boston Globe, cellist David Russell joins the ASU Chamber Orchestra in Ligeti's imaginatively intense Cello Concerto. The concert will continue with the mystical and meditative Shaker Loops by preeminent American composer John Adams in honor of his 70th birthday. Stravinsky's dazzling Pu/cine/la Suite will complete the evening.

Level Up Music from Video Games
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
ASU Gospel Choir

Don't miss the ASU Symphony Orchestra and Gospel Choir performing the music from Tetris, Mario, Halo, and the Grammy-winning soundtrack to Civilizations IV. The audience will also experience music by Tempe's own Christopher Norby, who teaches video game composing at ASU.

Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet Mozart, Debussy & Prokofiev
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor

The ASU Symphony Orchestra presents one of today's most influential and renowned pianists, Gilbert Kalish, performing Mozart's C minor masterpiece. The program continues with Debussy's ground-breaking Afternoon of a Faun and concludes with Prokofiev's exquisite Romeo & Juliet.

Graduate Recital Prokofiev, Johnson, Brahms & Rózsa
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Mark Alpizar and Kamna Gupta, Conductors

The ASU Symphony Orchestra is led by graduate conductors Mark Alpizar and Kamna Gupta featuring a world premiere performance of ASU graduate composer Brice L. Johnson's Zambiza and works by Prokofiev, Brahms and Mikl6s R6zsa.

From the New World Ko, Hidgon & Dvorak
Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Why We Touch, 6:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor

The ASU Symphony Orchestra is proud to introduce the innovative, cross-disciplinary artist Tonia Ko to the valley. A one-of-a-kind pre-concert interactive performance will explore the unique musical capacities of everyday materials. The evening's main event will feature Ko's strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide, Canadian percussionist Paul Vaillancourt performing Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto and Dvorak's New World Symphony.

Graduate Recital Wagner & Mozart
Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Katzin Concert Hall

ASU Chamber Orchestra
Kamna Gupta, Conductor

The ASU Chamber Orchestra is led by graduate conductor Kamna Gupta performing Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, written as a birthday present to his wife, Cosima, and Mozart's dynamic Symphony N° 25.

Beethoven Symphony N°5 Mozart, De Falla & Beethoven
Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Stephanie Weiss, Mezzo-Soprano

ASU's Stephanie Weiss sings De Falla's remarkably beautiful and evocative El Amor Brujo Suite inspired by the songs and dialect of the Andalusian Spanish gypsies. The concert opens with an un-conducted performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni Overture and ends with Beethoven's immortal and heroic Symphony N° 5.

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique Mahler, Roumain & Berlioz
Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Tempe Center for the Arts
Monday, April 2, 2018
7:30 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Arts

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Daniel Bernard Roumain, composer
Gordon Hawkins, baritone
ASU Gospel Choir

 In two evenings of concerts at the arts centers of Tempe and Scottsdale, the ASU Symphony Orchestra presents a collaboration with ASU's Daniel Bernard Roumain (composer), Gordon Hawkins (baritone), and the ASU Gospel Choir. Roumain's Harvest focuses on the collective culture of the African-American spiritual, while Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer looks at the composer's own experience of loss and regret. The performance concludes with Berlioz's wild and radical Symphonie Fantastique.

Mahler Symphony N°1 Poulenc & Mahler
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
ASU Gammage

ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, Conductor
Danielle Talamantes, soprano

The ASU Symphony Orchestra is joined by ASU's combined choirs in Poulenc's exuberant Gloria featuring Mexican-American guest soprano Danielle Talamantes. The second half concludes the 2017-18 season with Mahler's revolutionary and triumphant first symphony.

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