Hays Symphony Orchestra goes German on the way to Russian and American


09/17/15 rr

By Rachel Rayner
University Relations and Marketing
Director Shah Sadikov, assistant professor of music at Fort Hays State University, plans to make the 2015-2016 Hays Symphony orchestra season a cultural experience that will enrich the Hays community.

"It is important to have music in the community because that shows the community's artistic richness," said Sadikov.

The orchestra, consisting of FHSU faculty and students, community members and invited musicians will play more monumental music than in the past. The concerts will begin with overtures before going to full symphonies in the second half.

Sadikov will discuss the history, philosophy, and meaning behind the music before each concert. Not everyone is familiar with the music, he said, and this will acquaint the audience with the selections before hearing them.

"We want the audience to come and be engaged in the music," said Sadikov. "We have great people who want to play music. We're excited to present the orchestra in a new light."

Sadikov programmed the season's music as part of a three-season-long arc tracing the history of Hays' Volga German settlers. The music this year will be Germanic, next year will feature Russian music, and the third year will be an American season.

"Before immigrating to Hays, America, they emigrated to Russia," said Sadikov.

The progression also traces Sadikov's history studying in his native Uzbekistan before traveling to Germany and America. He recently returned from a year of studying German music, culture, philosophy and language in Germany, so he knows the music and feels it.

"I am from the former Soviet Union, so I have a direct connection to Russian culture too," he said. "Now I am in America. I am not fully American yet, but I am influenced by the culture."
The German music programmed in this season is the core repertoire of any symphony orchestra, featuring master composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

"The music is very well played, respected and well received, so we should be playing it here too," he said.

The first concert is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

The concert begins with Ludwig van Beethoven's "Egmont Overture," one of the nine incidental pieces he wrote for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's tragedy "Egmont," before moving on to Max Bruch's violin concerto in G minor. Laura Black, violinist with the Wichita Symphony, will play the solo. The second half of the concert will feature Johannes Brahms' Second Symphony.

"Brahms is so emotional, so intimate in his Second Symphony, and it touches you so deeply when you are in tune with it," said Sadikov.

The second concert is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, in Beach/Schmidt. Felix Mendelssohn's "Hebrides Overture" opens the performance, evoking images of the sea with undulating strings and rolling timpani. Dr. Ivalah Allen, assistant professor of music, will sing Samuel Barber's "Knoxville, Summer 1915."

The orchestra will then play Tulkun Kurbanov's "Poem (in Memory of a Teacher.)" Sadikov said that Kurbanov's piece is very personal to him because the composer was his father's best friend. Kurbanov, who Sadikov calls his godfather, was one of the most famous Uzbek composers.

The piece features a motive -- a short pattern of notes and rhythms that is the basis of a composition -- from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, which the orchestra will perform during the second half of the concert. Sadikov will explain how the motive is used in Kurbanov's piece during his pre-concert talk.

The third concert, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in Beach/Schmidt, opens with another Beethoven overture: the stormy "Coriolan Overture" based on Shakespeare's "Coriolanus."

For the second piece, Sadikov takes the stage as a viola soloist alongside award-winning violinist VĂ©ronique Mathieu, assistant professor of music at the University of Kansas, to perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola."

The concert closes with Brahms' Symphony No. 3. Sadikov said that, like Kurbanov, Brahms also considered Beethoven to be his teacher.

"He is a direct continuation of Beethoven's symphonic style and used his motives as well. It's all interwoven," he said.

The last concert of the season, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Beach/Schmidt, will feature the orchestra and the FHSU choirs. Dr. Terry Crull, assistant professor of music, will conduct the choir during the first half of the concert. The music has yet to be announced.

During the second half, Sadikov will conduct the orchestra in playing Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. Sadikov said that he programmed the symphony for a variety of reasons: Tchaikovsky's fifth and Brahms' second were written within 10 years of each other, and because Tchaikovsky and Brahms knew each other.

"They were counterparts from two different parts of the world," he said. "They didn't like each other, but they respected each other. They were both the genius composers of their time."

By ending the season with a Russian symphony, the orchestra transitions to next year's Russian season.

Sadikov hopes that the community will come and enjoy the concerts.

"We are artists, we are part of the community, and what we do is appreciated by the community," he said. "If we have nobody to play for, then we have no reason to exist. The more people we see, the more support we see, the more we will be blooming. I am very excited and I'm very hopeful to see that in the future."

09/17/15 rr
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