Carol Lewis West
Klezmer Company Orchestra, Conducted by Aaron Kula, Presents ‘Salute to the Spirit of America’ at FAU
Concert Features Music by Bernstein, Copland and the ‘1812 Overture’
BOCA RATON, FL (May 25, 2012) – The 60-piece Klezmer Company Orchestra (KCO), conducted by Maestro Aaron Kula, and joined by vocalist Daniel Cochran, will present “Salute to the Spirit of America,” a concert of beloved symphonic classics that were inspired by politics and American life, on Sunday, June 24 at 3 p.m. at Florida Atlantic University’s Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
KCO, the professional ensemble-in-residence at FAU Libraries, will open the concert with “Slava! A Political Overture,” a vaudevillian tune composed by Leonard Bernstein in 1977 to honor his friend Mstislav Rostropovich, who was nicknamed Slava. The energetic piece is full of musical punch and concludes with orchestra members shouting “Slava.”
The international award-winning KCO will also perform Copland’s “Four Dances from Rodeo,” which depicts life on a ranch in the American southwest and alternates between energetic syncopated melodies, waltzes and a wild square dance.
Cochran, a core member of the Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches who has appeared frequently with KCO since 2009, will sing nine songs during the patriotic tribute. His voice, versatility and pleasant stage appearance have made him one of KCO’s most adored vocalists.
Cochran will perform “Shall We Gather at the River,” a hymn written in 1864 by gospel music composer Robert Lowry. Another song, “Simple Gifts,” is a one-verse folk dance composed by Joseph Brackett in 1848. The versatile tenor will also sing the title song that was made famous by Gene Kelly in the American musical comedy film “Singin’ in the Rain.”
KCO will also perform “Bopkele,” a song that blends 1950s bebop with a popular Klezmer medley. The song is featured on “Klezmerology,” KCO’s new CD, which was released in March.
American symphony orchestras throughout the country have adopted Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” as a signature work closely associated with Independence Day celebrations, and KCO is no exception. The score is full of French and Russian patriotic melodies that serve as a narrative for the 1812 battle between the Russian forces and Napoleon’s army. As the work draws to a grand finale, the orchestra creates powerful sounds that simulate canons bursting in air.
“I take immense pride in conducting these great symphonic works with KCO’s exceptional musicians and look forward to an afternoon of music that will delight and even surprise our audience,” said Kula, director of music performance and education at FAU Libraries.
This is the seventh annual concert that FAU Libraries have sponsored to honor the “Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection,” which is housed at the Wimberly Library. The rare and important collection, donated in 2006, consists of more than 13,000 items, including first and later editions of books, manuscripts and pamphlets that were printed before 1865. Marvin Weiner, a businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist who donated the collection, died in 2010.
Since Kula founded KCO in 1997, the ensemble has taken music in the library’s collections “from shelf to stage.” He is credited with composing and orchestrating more than 200 works for KCO. For more information, visit www.shelftostage.com.
-FAU-Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.