Concert IV

Symphony hopes to shine light on lesser known composers in its upcoming concert

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Concert IV

“We thought it was really important to highlight the music that’s just as beautiful, just as complex and just as fantastic but lesser heard simply just because of who they are.”

“We thought it was really important to highlight the music that’s just as beautiful, just as complex and just as fantastic but lesser heard simply just because of who they are.”

COURTESY OF KRISTIN LINCOLN

“We thought it was really important to highlight the music that’s just as beautiful, just as complex and just as fantastic but lesser heard simply just because of who they are.”

COURTESY OF KRISTIN LINCOLN

COURTESY OF KRISTIN LINCOLN

“We thought it was really important to highlight the music that’s just as beautiful, just as complex and just as fantastic but lesser heard simply just because of who they are.”

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On Feb. 8 and 9 the Washington-Idaho Symphony Orchestra will perform Explorations: Celebrating Women & Minority Composers.

As the subtitle suggests, the orchestra will be performing pieces from women and minority composers.

The composers featured include Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Florence Price. Orchestra Director Kristin Lincoln said the concert is a chance to shine a light on voices that often go overlooked in the orchestra community, even though they’re just as talented.

Danh Pham, WSU professor and music director for the orchestra, said many of the pieces were suggested from a committee of local professionals. In choosing the specific pieces to be played, he looked for ones that moved him and he believed would move the audience.

“For the ones we chose there’s a lot of interesting technique and musical harmony,” Pham said. “But then there’s also the story about these composers and that we don’t know who they are, that I think [the audience] should be very much exposed to.”

Featured soloist Giselle Hillyer specifically chose the Zwilich piece “Romance for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.”

“It’s a really beautiful, haunting piece,” Hillyer said. “It’s very well-written for the violin so it’s easy and nice to play on the instrument and it’s got a very exciting, fast middle section so it has a lot of great elements that make it compelling to listen to and beautiful to play.”

Lincoln said most of the musicians themselves are unfamiliar with the music chosen, and it presents a welcome challenge to try pieces they haven’t had the chance to play. Hillyer is the only musician who’s played one of the pieces before — the Zwilich piece.

“There’s kind of a move in a lot of the performing arts to start showing representation outside of your standard white male,” Lincoln said. “In the orchestra industry in particular, we’ve seen most of the music we listen to … We thought it was really important to highlight the music that’s just as beautiful, just as complex and just as fantastic but lesser heard simply just because of who they are.”

Lincoln said with this concert, they’re hoping to normalize the music of women and minority composers and cement them in the regular canon of music.

“This is music that needs to be heard by people,” Lincoln said. “We need to be able to recognize that there are talents among all races and genders around the world and we’re at a place in history where that is something we need to celebrate.”

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Pullman High School and at 3 p.m. Feb. 9 at Clarkston High School. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $10 for youth ages 12 to 18 and children under 12 get in free. The concert is free for WSU and University of Idaho students.

“If you’ve never been to a live symphony orchestra,” Lincoln said. “It is much more than you think it’s going to be.”