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Student Soloists Get Spotlight in Philharmonia Performance

Student Soloists Get Spotlight in Philharmonia Performance

Posted: March 15, 2018

The Buffalo State Philharmonia Orchestra will present its ninth annual concert featuring soloists selected from the 2017-2018 Young Artist Competition on Tuesday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Formed in fall 2009, the Philharmonia is an auditioned college-community orchestra composed of music majors and non-majors, as well as experienced community and professional musicians.

The Young Artist Competition, which the Music Department holds every December, is open to currently enrolled Buffalo State students. Professionals outside of the college evaluate the students on musical proficiency and aptitude. This year’s winners are saxophonist Matt Cohen, a junior, and trumpet player Teressa-Jo Izzo, a sophomore.

The March 20 concert opens with the entire Philharmonia performing Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Next, Cohen will play Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence, a suite of five characteristic pieces from southern France. 

“The suite is noteworthy in that it was written by a woman at a time when women composers were not common or well-known,” said Thomas Witakowski, Philharmonia conductor and associate professor of music. “Our performance is noteworthy in that the suite is not commonly heard with its original, orchestral accompaniment.”

Cohen will be followed by Izzo playing Johann Baptist Neruda’s Concerto in E Flat for Trumpet and String Orchestra.

“The concerto showcases the brilliance and power of the solo trumpet within the clear transparent accompaniment of a string orchestra,” Witakowski said. “Our performance features several trumpet cadenzas written by Ms. Izzo herself.”

The concert concludes with a tone-poem by Romantic Polish composer Sigmund Noskowski titled The Eye of the Sea, a reference to a mysterious and haunted mountain lake hidden deep in the Tatra Mountains between Slovakia and Poland.

“Overall, this performance satisfies a wide range of tastes,” Witakowski said. “And the audience should enjoy hearing works from new musical talent.” 

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