Concert Band Opens Season with "Rhapsody in Blue"

The Yale Concert Band will perform its first concert of the 1998-99 season on Friday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. in Woolsey Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

Conducted by Thomas C. Duffy, musical director and associated dean of the School of Music, the concert will open with the elegant “Overture for Band” by Felix Mendelssohn, followed by Edward Bland’s “Rambunctious Serenade.”

To celebrate the centennial of George Gershwin’s birth, “Rhapsody in Blue” will highlight the program. Written in about a week and premiered by the composer himself in 1924, the single-movement concerto has been described as “symphonic jazz” due to its blend of jazz and classical styles. Successfully combining the playfulness and urban sophistication of jazzy themes with the grandeur of a large classical setting, “Rhapsody in Blue” is one of Gershwin’s most widely recognized and popular works. The piece will feature Robert Blocker, dean of the Yale School of Music, on piano. Blocker is renowned for his remarkable pianism which embraces a range of artistry.

The Yale Concert Band will also present “Pilgrim’s Progress,” a commissioned composition by Duffy. Filled with rich, contrasting moods, the four sections of this musical journey trace the history of a community of Narrangasett Indians from what is now Rhode Island, through its encounter with Baptist settlers and changes due to the Industrial Revolution. Drawing on Native American motifs and themes from the Christian tradition, the piece ends with the community’s final “resting place” under a water reservoir.

The program will also include Peter I. Tchaikovsky’s light-hearted “March of the Jesters” and Nancy Galbraith’s spirited and lyrical “Danza de los Duendes.”

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