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News & Events

Orchestra-band concept concert in national spotlight

Moores School of Music to perform for the first time at prestigious Midwest Clinic

The Moores School of Music’s innovative approach to music education has earned its Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra invitations to perform in Chicago at a premiere music conference.

In December, the two groups will play together in UH’s debut performance at the Midwest Clinic, the largest and most prestigious national music education conference in the United States.

This year marks the 66th convening of the Midwest Clinic. UH is the first university to have both its band and orchestra invited to perform a single concert presentation at the Midwest Clinic, said Dr. Franz Anton Krager, professor of conducting and director of orchestras.

“It is truly one of the grandest and most important annual gatherings of the music education field,” said Dr. Krager. “To be invited to perform here marks a performer as ’having arrived.’"

Featured performers at this year’s Midwest Clinic include such internationally-acclaimed musicians as jazz composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and Leonard Slatkin, conductor and music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Joining Dr. Krager in the conducting duties at the conference will be Director of Bands Dr. David G. Bertman. The two men will lead the combined orchestra and ensemble in a concept concert called Transcriptions-in-Reverse featuring the works by Barber, Vaughan Williams, Grainger and Bernstein.

The Wind Ensemble will perform important works written originally for the orchestra medium and the Symphony Orchestra will perform important works originally written for the band medium. Then, the two ensembles will come together, as one, to perform additional major band and orchestra literature.

“The solidarity that this process creates, and the exposure to great literature (representing two very different traditions) not only brings departments together, but links them by immersing student participants in different areas of great human creative achievements,” said Dr. Krager.

The effort to bring two major ensembles together in a single performance is considered pioneering work in the field of music education and has been earning UH significant attention.

“The leaders of The Chicago Midwest Clinic wanted the rest of the nation to know what UH was doing to advance music education in this country, and they extended the invitation to us in order to bring this concept concert into the national spotlight,” Dr. Krager said.

The Midwest Clinic has traditionally been an American band forum. Bands from the middle school, high school and university levels have been performing in Chicago at this event for 65 years. Orchestras do perform as well, but with a lesser frequency.

UH will be sending approximately 200 band and orchestra students to Chicago. The entourage will fly from Houston on December 17 and return on December 21.

In addition to attending the extensive Midwest Clinic exhibition area and other performances/clinics offered at the conference, UH students will enjoy some free time to explore the many amenities of the Chicago city scene, including museums, art galleries, theaters, restaurants, stores (for Christmas shopping), the Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Sears Tower. Students will also attend a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert at Orchestra Hall.

“We'll definitely inform our students of the need to bring appropriate attire for the December weather in Chicago,” said Dr. Krager. “The ’Windy City ‘will be quite a shock for some of our students who have never experienced a winter in the Midwest! Imagine an international student from Central America thinking to pack a heavy winter coat, gloves, stocking cap, scarf and long johns!!”

Fund raising to cover the $180,000 cost of sending the students, their instruments and their conductors to Chicago is ongoing. On November 14, the Moores Society, a guild that supports the Moores School’s growth and development, hosted the “All that Jazz” brunch and designated the proceeds as benefitting the trip to the Midwest Clinic.

Those wishing to make a tax deductible contribution toward getting the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra to the Midwest Clinic in Chicago may make a secure online gift: http://www.uh.edu/class/music/giving/index.php. Select Moores School of Music from the menu and type “Chicago” in the designation box.

“Our preparation of this music has been an absolute joy,” said Krager. “The approach to our preparation is ‘all-business’ as our approach is for any performance. There is an excitement factor present, however, which is not always the case in our regular rehearsals. We all understand how important this performance in Chicago will be for all of us as individual performing artists, as representatives of a major American school of music, and as proud faculty/students in a Tier One university family.”

- Monica Byars

The program for The University of Houston Moores School Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra performance at the 66th Annual Conference of the 2012 Midwest Clinic is as follows:

MSM Wind Ensemble:
Academic Festival Overture, by Johannes Brahms (transcribed by Merlin Patterson)
Slava!, by Leonard Bernstein (transcribed by Clare Grundman)

MSM Symphony Orchestra:
English Folk Song Suite, by Ralph Vaughan-Willams (transcribed by Gordon Jacob)
First Military Suite in E-Flat, by Gustav Holst (transcribed by Chris Hazell)
Lincolnshire Posy, by Percy Aldridge Grainger (transcribed by Merlin Patterson)

Combined MSM Wind Ensemble & Symphony Orchestra:
The Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure, by Richard Wagner (transcribed by Merlin Patterson)
A Christmas Festival, by Leroy Anderson

Performances in the Chicago area:
Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at 7:30pm
Run-out concert to Amos Alonzo Stagg High School Auditorium, Palos Hills, Illinois

Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at 11:30am
Midwest Clinic concert at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois

Information on the Midwest Clinic can be found by using the following link: www.midwestclinic.org