The Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra launches its 2021-22 season -- this year dedicated to British musical masterpieces -- with a concert at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Masonic Center, 423 Bruce Ave.
This concert, titled “Pomp and Circumstance,” will feature soloist Joel Pugh, teaching assistant professor of music at UND, during the performance of “Concerto for Euphonium,” by Philip Wilby.
The symphony, under the direction of Alejandro Drago, will open the concert with “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1,” written in 1901 by Sir Edward Elgar, one of England’s most prominent composers. When it debuted, the piece was so well-received that, in 1902, Elgar was encouraged to include it in his coronation ode to King Edward VII, Drago said in his concert program notes.
By the 1920s, it had become a pervasive graduation theme. The composition “is now inextricably linked to graduation ceremonies," he said. “The entire six-minute march deserves to be better known as a treasurable piece of music, and therefore will be presented by the (symphony) in its full version.”
The symphony will also perform “Brook Green Suite,” by Gustav Holst, who wrote it during the last year of his life. Indicative of Holst, the work evokes elements of the English folk-song in each of the three movements, Drago said.
The concert will conclude with “Scottish Symphony,” by Felix Mendelssohn, a piece the composer conceived after his first visit to Great Britain in 1829. The composition, parts of which are “grand and joyful,” is reminiscent of the tunes and rhythms of Scottish folk music, and “the contemplative third movement gives way to an energetic finale that draws from the rhythms of Scottish folk dances,” Drago said.
The piece that highlights Pugh’s musicianship, “Concerto for Euphonium,” is “one of the most challenging and demanding concerti,” Drago said. “It blends incredible energy, driving intensity, soaring lyricism, and great listening enjoyment.”
Pugh, who teaches in the UND music department’s Low Brass Studies program, directs the North Dakota Trombone Choir and coaches the UND Trombone and Tuba quartets. He serves as principal trombonist for the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Dakota Brass, the International Brass Quintet, and International Tuba Quartet.
He has presented solo recitals at numerous universities throughout the U.S., and at the East China Normal and the Shanghai Science and Technology institutions as part of the UND Trombone Quartet’s recent China residency.
Tickets for Sunday’s concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for students and military, and $5 for children. They may be purchased online at www.ggfso.org or at the door. Season tickets, priced at $90 for adults and $65 for seniors, are also available online.