The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will present its opening night concert of the 2020-2021 season at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 in a livestreaming event from Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus.
The program will be a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth year of Ludwig van Beethoven, arguably the greatest symphonic composer in the history of western music. While not open to a public audience, the concert will be streamed free of charge on the School of Music’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/usmmusic1.
The program will feature performances of three of Beethoven’s early works. The symphony will open the concert with the overture to “Egmont.” This programmatic overture is based on Geothe’s tragedy of the same title.
Faculty artist Ellen Elder will then join the symphony to perform the Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb major, a work known for its beautiful lyricism and fanciful melodies. The evening closes with the Symphony No. 1 in C major.
This lovely work is reminiscent of the late symphonies of Mozart but hints to the genius of Beethoven that is to come in his later symphonic works.
Michael Miles, interim director of orchestral activities at Southern Miss, notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the orchestra with some challenges as it starts the year.
“We had to make a number of adjustments to our regular programming in order to meet the various COVID protocols that are in place to keep everyone safe,” said Miles. “We had to reduce the size of the orchestra in order to observe social distancing on the stage, so that means performing only chamber orchestra works this year. We also are not performing for public audiences, so we are hoping everyone can still enjoy our performance by watching the livestream of the concert at home.”
The USM Symphony Orchestra is a study in international relations as students from across the globe come together for one purpose: music.
It is one of the major ensembles in the School of Music, offering an intense performance schedule covering classical to pop musical styles and drawing both students and guest artists from around the world.