Wesleyan University Orchestra

Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall


The Wesleyan University Orchestra, under direction of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Nadya Potemkina, performs the world premiere of the first three movements of An Appalachian Trail Symphony: New England by composer Keane Southard, Camille Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre” featuring violinist Winona Murphy ’20, a selection from Antonin Dvořák’s “Biblical Songs," Op. 99 featuring Wesleyan Private Lessons Teacher and baritone Chai-lun Yueh, and Hector Berlioz's "March to the Scaffold,” the fourth movement from his "Symphonie fantastique.” 

An Appalachian Trail Symphony: New England was co-commissioned by the Wesleyan University Orchestra and a consortium of other New England orchestras, including the Claflin Hill Symphony in Milford, Massachusetts; the Wellesley Symphony in Wellesley, Massachusetts; and the Sage City Symphony in Bennington, Vermont. The work was inspired by Mr. Southard’s hike of the New England portion of the Appalachian Trail in 2016. More than 700 miles of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail pass through a total of five New England states, including 51 miles in Connecticut. The work is a musical celebration of the trail on the 80th anniversary of its completion in 1937. The symphony follows Mr. Southard’s journey from Connecticut to the end of the trail at Mt. Katahdin in Maine, with one movement for each state. The first three movements are “Connecticut,” “Massachusetts,” and “Vermont.”

“This project has been several years in the making,” said Mr. Southard, who grew up in central Massachusetts, and currently lives in New Hampshire. “I am so excited to finally hear the work performed. The audience will hear some things from the trail depicted literally, like the songs of birds and the peaks of the highest mountains, but I also tried to depict what it actually felt like to be on this physical, emotional, and spiritual journey hiking the trail with its many ups and downs, literally and figuratively. My hope is that the symphony captures some of the beauty of the trail and the wilderness of our region, while inspiring people to both enjoy and protect it.”