Haydn Meets Gershwin at Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra Concert

Unlikely travel companions Franz Joseph Haydn and George Gershwin explore London from two different centuries when the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra continues its 39th season with concerts on March 22 at 8 p.m. at Old Cabell Hall on the U.Va Grounds, and March 23 at 3:30 p.m. at Monticello High School.

Conducted by Music Director Kate Tamarkin, the concerts open with Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme by Haydn.” Haydn’s joyful and humorous Symphony No. 104, dubbed the “London,” provides the other bookend.

In between, the orchestra’s principal trombonist, Nathan Dishman, performs the “Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra” by 20th-century Danish composer Launy Grondhal. Rounding out the program is the world premiere of “London Town Fantasy” by Virginia composer Antonio García.

“London Town Fantasy” was commissioned by the Charlottesville Symphony Society, a nonprofit organization that provides administrative, financial and marketing support to the orchestra. García, an associate professor of music and director of jazz studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, took Haydn’s “London” Symphony as his point of departure in this new work for trombone and orchestra. He includes a clever fusion of the theme from the symphony’s finale with a nod to George and Ira Gershwin’s famous ballad, “A Foggy Day (in London Town),” recorded by Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, David Bowie and many others.

Dishman is a member of the University of Virginia music faculty. During the current academic year, he is serving as a visiting professor at Morehead State University in Kentucky. He also maintains a busy freelance schedule, playing regularly in orchestral, jazz, recording and church settings. He is a former member of the acclaimed Fountain City Brass Band, Kansas City Symphony Brass Ensemble and Des Moines (Iowa) Symphony.

Both performances are sponsored by Castle Hill Cider.

“Know the Score” pre-concert lectures will be presented 45 minutes before each concert. Free of charge, these informative and entertaining lectures by Richard Will, associate professor and chair of the McIntire Department of Music, which offer both novice and experienced patrons a deeper appreciation of the performances. Friday’s lecture will take place in Minor Hall; Sunday’s lecture will be held in the Forum at Monticello High School.            

Free parking is available in the U.Va Central Grounds Parking Garage, located on Emmet Street, on Saturday night and at the high school on Sunday afternoon. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.

Tickets range from $10 to $40 for adults ($10 for students; U.Va students may request one complimentary ticket in advance), and may be purchased at the U.Va. Arts Box Office by calling 434-924-3376 or visiting the lobby of the Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Rd. weekdays between noon and 5 p.m., or online anytime at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu.

U.Va. employees receive a 20 percent discount on tickets to individual performances. This offer does not apply to subscriptions or previously purchased tickets.

The final concerts in the orchestra’s “Musical Kaleidoscope” season will be held April 26-27. It will feature Mussorgsky’s “Triumphal March from Mlada,” Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 for Piano and Orchestra, with world-renowned pianist Anne-Marie McDermott.

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