seal  Purdue News

November 20, 2003

Symphonic Band to perform 'From Russia with Love'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – From jubilant themes to musical motifs reflecting despair, the Purdue Symphonic Band explores the drama and mystery of noted Russian composers at its Sunday (11/23) concert "From Russia With Love."

The free concert, set for 2:30 p.m. at the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette, also will feature the Purdue Fall Concert Band and the West Lafayette High School Concert Band.

Works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Kozhevikov add a Russian flavor to the concert, which is musically multi-dimensional. The Symphonic Band balances out the Russian programming with a contemporary classic from the trumpet repertoire. M.T. "Mo" Trout, head of Purdue's jazz studies, will perform the trumpet solo in the Symphonic Band's performance of Kent Kennan's "Sonata No. 1."

Shostakovich's "Finale" from "Symphony No. 5" tops the program in terms of drama, says Jay Gephart, conductor of Symphonic Band.

"Of all the Shostakovich symphonies, the fifth (symphony) is the most famous," he says. "In it you get a real sense that Shostakovich, as a composer, is torn between political strife prevalent in the Soviet Union and his desire to be a nationalist composer and patriot."

Triumphant passages dominate several parts of the piece, but there also are "somber and disturbing sounds demonstrating the angst of the composer," Gephart says.

Shostakovich's "Festive Overture" is "exactly what it says. It's jubilant. In fact, when it was introduced, it was criticized as being too jubilant," Gephart says.

A Prokofiev march completes the Russian emphasis in the program.

"Prokofiev is one of a few composers who felt comfortable operating in both classical and modern styles of writing," Gephart says.

Highlights of the Fall Concert Band's portion of the program include "Fanfare and Hymn of Celebration" by Paul Lavender, and the march from "1941" by John Williams. Boyd Loughrige, visiting instructor at Purdue Bands, conducts the Fall Concert Band. The West Lafayette Band, under the direction of Matt Conaway, performs Claude Smith's "Emperata Overture," among other works.

This year West Lafayette's band and orchestra program has been chosen to participate in Purdue University Bands' Partners in Music Education program, which offers special performing opportunities as well as educational support.

For more information about Purdue University Bands, ensembles and concerts, see the web site.

Writer: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785,

Source: Jay Gephart, (765) 494-7886,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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