College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

Bookends: Chamber Symphony Then & Now

Magnetic SouthMagnetic South – an innovative partnership between the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the Composition area of the College of Charleston (CofC) Music Department – presents Bookends: Chamber Symphony Then & Now. The second concert in the series this season takes place on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 8:00pm at the Simons Center Recital Hall, 54 St. Philip St. on the campus of the College of Charleston.

The goal of the Magnetic South partnership is to bring to the audiences of the Lowcountry musical masterpieces of the 20th century along with important new works by living composers. The concerts, performed by CSO musicians, feature carefully selected works from a variety of aesthetic directions and styles to represent the panorama of the music of our times. The program in Composition and Theory at the College of Charleston gives promising young composers a chance to study various courses with two members of the College’s music faculty who are also practicing composers. Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition, played a key role in facilitating this series, alongside Associate Professor Edward Hart.

Vassilandonakis is also conductor for the series and describes the concert program as “featuring important works that span over a hundred years, each one a defining moment in the repertoire of the Chamber Orchestra, the 20th century’s answer to the massive orchestral forces employed in the Romantic era; a leaner, more focused ensemble that retains all the colors of an orchestra, but in which every instrumentalist is a soloist. Schoenberg’s 1906 Chamber Symphony introduced this new sound world, retaining however much of the flavors of Mahler and Straus, while John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony is the 21st century treatment of the same ensemble, augmented by more percussive and some electronic sampled sounds. Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks Concerto uses yet another variation of the chamber orchestra forces, looking back to the Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach. Arvo Part’s mystical Fratres, in its latest version for chamber ensemble provides an introspective monastic contrast to the program.”

Vassilandonakis taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Virginia, as well as electronic music at the Centre de Création Musicale, Iannis Xenakis, in Paris, before joining the faculty at the College of Charleston in 2010. As a composer Vassilandonakis has won several prominent awards for his works, including the 2011 Aaron Copland Award and the Henry Mancini Award. His music is frequently programmed on both sides of the Atlantic and has been commissioned and performed by numerous professional ensembles. He led a successful career as a film composer and arranger in the Hollywood indie movie scene, with credits as a composer, conductor, and producer of scores for theater, independent films, television documentaries and commercials, as well as a theme park ride at Universal Studios, Hollywood.

On his collaboration with the CSO, Vassilandonakis remarks, “It’s a great pleasure to work with CSO musicians in an effort that is meaningful, exciting and important for our city, that of presenting music of our times to Charleston, performed by the best musicians around. This music is challenging to perform, and it asks for virtuosity, precision, fresh sounds from traditional instruments and the highest levels of engagement, and the CSO musicians are rising to the occasion with wonderful energy, commitment and musicality.”

Ticketholders will have an additional chance to interact with composers, musicologists, and musicians during a pre-concert expert panel discussion from the stage prior to the concert at 7:15 pm. Tickets for the concerts are $20. Student tickets are $10 with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased in advance through the CSO online or by calling the CSO at (843) 723-7528. Tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to show time, subject to availability.


The Post and Courier, Charleston, March 25, 2012