Rarely Heard Tuba Concerto on Symphony's Final Program

April 2, 2012 — The Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra concludes its 2011-12 season with performances on April 21 at 8 p.m. at the University of Virginia's Old Cabell Hall and April 22 at 3:30 p.m. at Monticello High School in Charlottesville.

Conducted by music director Kate Tamarkin, the program includes "The Swan of Tuonela" by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Concerto in F minor for Bass Tuba and Orchestra" and Sibelius’s "Symphony No. 2 in D."The mournful, brooding voice of the swan in "The Swan of Tuonela" will be heard in an English horn solo played by the orchestra's principal oboist, Aaron Hill.

Seth Cook, principal tuba, will step out of the lower brass section to take center stage in the Vaughan Williams "Tuba Concerto." Cook is a two-time winner of the American Brass Quintet Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and has performed in more than 20 countries. In addition to maintaining an active performing schedule in the Washington area, Cook pursues his other passion - coffee - by running a specialty coffee shop in Arlington.

Concertos for tuba are rarely composed and rarely heard. "With this concerto, Vaughan Williams gave a real 'voice' to the instrument, showing its technical capacity," Cook said. Rooted in the English tradition, the work is full of the soaring melodies for which Williams is recognized.

The Second Symphony of Jean Sibelius secured his place among Scandinavia's best-known composers. Overflowing with pastoral elements celebrating his beloved Finland, it has achieved a place in the popular repertoire more than any of his other six symphonies.

"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, who chairs the McIntire Department of Music in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences, offer both novice and experienced patrons a deeper appreciation of the performances. Saturday's lecture will take place in Minor Hall; Sunday's lecture will be held in the Forum at Monticello High.

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

Tickets are priced at $20, $25, $30 and $38 for adults, and $10 for students. U.Va students can request one complimentary ticket in advance. Tickets may be purchased at the University of Virginia Arts Box Office in the lobby of the Drama Building (109 Culbreth Road; 434-924-3376) weekdays from noon to 5 p.m., or online. Holders of Public Broadcasting MemberCards are eligible for two-for-one admission on both concert dates.

Both performances are sponsored by McGuireWoods.