The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) closes the spring semester performing a traditional “big” piece, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18.
To view the free virtual concert, visit the UW Department of Music’s “Upcoming Performances” webpage at www.uwyo.edu/music/upcoming_performances and scroll down to “Mahler’s 4th.”
“We owe it to our loyal audiences, and I owe it to the students,” Griffith says about performing a larger orchestra piece during a socially distanced concert. The task is arranging reorchestrated editions — music written for a large orchestra, but skillfully arranged for smaller ensembles, he adds.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, and classes scheduled to be held virtually later in the semester, the UWSO’s traditional Jacoby Competition concert in May had to be canceled. Instead, the winner — chosen at the audition round — will perform with the UWSO during the final concert. The judges selected pianist Ana Huerta Fernández, a graduate pianist from Spain.
Griffith selected the music of Gustav Mahler, known for his massive symphonies, for the final concert.
“Can such a composer’s work be effective with 24 players? Absolutely,” Griffith says. “Orchestras as respected as the Berlin Philharmonic came out of lockdown with Mahler reductions. And that will be the UW Symphony’s season finale as well.”
Opening the concert will be Igor Stravinsky’s “In Memoriam Dylan Thomas,” which is a setting of Thomas’ poem, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” followed by the Mahler piece.
Singing the final song for Mahler’s works is UW Department of Music Assistant Lecturer Maureen Boddicker, a soprano. The tenor for the Stravinsky piece is Nathan Snyder, of Greeley, Colo.
“The Mahler is one of the great symphonies in the repertoire, and performing it during the pandemic will be an incredible accomplishment,” Griffith says.
Fernández’s chosen work during the concert is George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Born in Lugo, Spain, Fernandez began studying piano at age 6. She earned her Bachelor of Music Performance degree in the Superior Conservatory of the Principality of Asturias, finishing in 2020 with honors.
She has taken master classes with professors including Mikhail Voskresensky, from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory; Victoria Mushkatkol, of The Juilliard School; Michel Dalberto, from the Conservatoire de Paris; and UW Department of Music Associate Professor Chi-Chen Wu.
She complements her musical activity as a member of the Lugo Philharmonic Band as well as a chamber music performer. Fernández was the multiple winner of the “Soloist Competition for Orchestra” at the Professional Conservatory of Music of Lugo and was chosen to perform within the program “Young Musical Talents” of Compostela Sound in Santiago de Compostela. She is pursuing her Master of Music degree in piano performance at UW under the guidance of Wu.