Orchestra to Perform a California Premiere

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The Westmont Fall Orchestra Concert features a California premiere by Chicago-area composer James Stephenson on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. at Montecito Covenant Church and Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. General admission to Sunday’s performance is $10. The suggested donation for admission to Friday’s concert is $10. Students are free. To purchase tickets, or for more information, please call (805) 565-6040.

Stephenson’s “Two Brothers,” a musical remembrance of families divided by the Civil War, features narration by John Sider, distinguished professor emeritus of English, and Maurice Lee, assistant professor of religious studies.

Pianist Aaron Wilk

Pianist Aaron Wilk

The concert includes William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1 “Afro-American” and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov, which features sophomore Aaron Wilk on piano.

Still’s Afro-American Symphony, which premiered in 1931, was the first symphony by an African-American composer to be performed by a major orchestra. He was the first African-American to conduct a white radio orchestra in New York and in 1936 was the first African-American to conduct a major orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of the most popular pieces of classical music and has been featured in many films. Wilk, who recorded his first full-length CD at the age of 11, has opened for Twila Paris, a member of the Christian Music Hall of Fame. The Centennial, Colo., resident earned a Monroe Scholarship, Westmont’s highest academic honor.

Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, directs the Westmont Orchestra. Han Soo Kim, an award-winning artist who joined the Westmont faculty this fall, is the string coordinator.