HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi's Symphony Orchestra presents an exciting and rare program featuring the venerable symphony orchestra and the combined forces of Southern Miss and guest choirs in two world premieres. The program, entitled The Prodigal for one of the premieres, takes place Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Main Street Baptist Church.
Gregory Fuller, director of choral activities, will lead the orchestra and choirs in the premiere of Mack WIlberg's The Prodigal. Commissioned by Southern Miss Choral Activities, it is an oratorio based on the Biblical text of the prodigal son. Composer, arranger and conductor Mack Wilberg is the current music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He has emerged as one of the pre-eminent composers and arrangers of choral music in the United States today, and his sublime arrangements and compositions are performed around the world. He will be in attendance for the premiere of his work where all are welcome to the opportunity of meeting him.
Russian-born composer and conductor Polina Nazaykinskaya takes to the podium to conduct her premiere, Concerto for Trombone: In Memoriam to Gustavo de Campos Cassemiro, featuring Southern Miss' Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor of Trombone, Dr. Ben McIlwain. Nazaykinskaya holds degrees from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. She has had her works performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Her music has garnered numerous national and international awards and received rave reviews in the press, including The New York Times. In 2010, Sony-Music Russia released a CD that featured her symphonic poem Winter Bells.
Although a great performance for all to enjoy, this performance is particularly special to Dr. Ben McIlwain.
"In December of 2013 my former student, Gustavo de Campos Cassemiro, passed away at the age of 19 after fighting a year-long battle with cancer," said McIlwain. "That same month I was awarded a grant from the Aubrey K. and Ella Ginn Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which was to fund a new concerto for trombone and orchestra by Polina Nazaykinskaya. After talking it over with Polina, we decided to include 'In Memoriam to Gustavo de Campos Cassemiro' in the title for the work. This performance is dedicated to the memory of Gustavo."
Joining the Symphony Orchestra will be the Hattiesburg Choral Union, USM Gulf Coast Civic Chorale, and singers from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at the Jackson County, Jeff Davis and Perkinston Campuses, and Pearl River Community College.
Tickets for the event may be purchased at 800.844.8425, 601.266.5418, southernmisstickets.com, or at the door. General admission tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for youth. Students with identification are admitted free.