The Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its twelfth season as a select, all-student, symphonic orchestra dedicated to professional standards of performance of works from both the standard and contemporary repertories. Although a majority of the players are music majors, the orchestra regularly has members from all of Valparaiso’s professional colleges and a wide array of disciplines.
Highlights of the orchestra’s first eleven seasons:
• Domestic tours – Minneapolis and St. Louis to Washington D. C. and New York City, performances in Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra and Orchestra Hall Chicago
• International tours - performances in London, Bath, Brecon Beacons, and Cambridge, Prague, Pilsen, Linz, Vienna and Budapest, Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Jiaxing, and Shanghai
• Guest conductors – Dennis Russell Davies, Bruckner Symphony of Linz; Helmuth Rilling, Bachakadämie Stuttgart; Hermann Max, Rheinische Kantorei and Das Kleine Konzert; Barbara Schubert, University of Chicago; and Craig Jessop, Mormon Tabernacle Choir
• Guest artists – Grammy-winning fiddler/composer Mark O’Connor; Yu Yuan-Qing, violin; Walter Preucil, cello; Maki Namekawa, piano; Zhu Changyao and Song Fei, erhu; Rachel Barton Pine, violin
• Holiday broadcasts nationally on WFMT and public television stations, and in Chicago with the 200-voice gospel choir of Trinity United Church of Christ
• Major symphonic works – Beethoven Symphonies 5 and 9, Brahms Symphonies 1 and 2, Britten Sea Interludes, Holst The Planets, Mendelssohn Symphonies 4 and 5, Respighi Pines of Rome, Strauss Death and Transfiguration, Shostakovich Symphony 5 and Piano Concerto no. 2, Stravinsky Firebird Suite, Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4 and 5 and Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 in C minor, Resurrection
• Oratorio, opera and operetta collaborations: Bach Mass in B minor, St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Barber Prayers of Kirkegaard, Mozart Requiem, Vaughan Williams Dona nobis pacem, J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, and Mozart’s Magic Flute
Highlights of the current season include performances in Minneapolis and Milwaukee, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. The 2011 Homecoming Concert featured Brahms’ Concerto in A minor for violin, cello, and orchestra with Chicago Symphony members, Assistant Concertmaster Yuan-Qing Yu, violin, and Brant Taylor, cello. Ms. Yu serves as Artist Teacher of Music Valparaiso University, and Chair of Civitas, a consort of Chicago Symphony Orchestra members, which is our Ensemble-in-Residence.