Bruce Uchimura

C. Lieurance

In a twist, the next Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra concert will feature five orchestral showpieces, each led by a different student conductor. Cara Lieurance talks to the five musicians - Austin McWilliams, Eric Dalmau, Zachary Nicely, Teresa Strobe, and Zachary Ploeger - about what the opportunity means to them, and they discuss the work that goes into preparing pieces as a conductor.

The Merling Trio

On Friday, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will close its festival with a concert by the Merling Trio, the esteemed ensemble-in-residence at Western Michigan University. With the addition of bassist Tom Knific, the group will premiere three new works, by Adam Schumaker, Gene Knific, and Tom Knific, as part of an extended arrangement of J.S. Bach's Italian Concerto, BWV 971. The three composers each took one movement of the concerto, and created a jazz-inspired companion movement to go with it. 

To close the concert, long time friend and former student of Renata Artman Knific, Mialtin Zhezha, will join the Merling Trio and bassist Tom Knific to perform Schubert's Quintet in A, D. 667, "The Trout.

The recipient of a School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, trumpet player Alex Jokipii will join the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra on Sunday to play a new trumpet concerto by Finnish composer Jaakko Kuusisto. In the studio at WMUK with conductor Bruce Uchimura, he talks about his life as the principal trumpet of the Buffalo Philharmonic. 

The concert begins Sunday at 3 pm in Miller Auditorium with Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture. The concert will also include George Gershwin’s tone poem An American in Paris and the Estancia Ballet Suite by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera.

WMU School of Music

Music director Bruce Uchimura will lead the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra in works of Beethoven and Ravel in a free concert on Sunday at 3 pm in Miller Auditorium. Uchimura and Cara Lieurance look at the works on the program, from Ravel's brilliantly orchestrated Le Tombeau de Couperin to the slyly humorous Symphony No. 4, by Beethoven.

On Sunday, Qing Yu Chen performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, the same work she played last May at the Stulberg International String Competition. Chen, conductor Bruce Uchimura, and Stulberg director Margaret Hamilton previewed the concert with Cara Lieurance.