FGCU’s Wind Orchestra will take center stage at Artis-Naples for a concert at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21 in Hayes Hall.
The concert, “Explorations of the Heart,” features a mix of classical and modern works, including a suite by Gustav Holst and selections from Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Instructor Troy Jones and Visiting Professor Gary Green will conduct.
The orchestra also will perform the world premiere of a work inspired by the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. James M. Stephenson began composing “Requiem Dances for Children” amid the grief he felt the day after 17 people were killed at the school in Parkland. “Not being able to get the event out of my mind, I could only channel it into music,” Stephenson says. “The only vision that kept coming to mind was that of children who will never again get to dance. Therefore, the music is infused with dance-like rhythms, but always with an undertone of severity or of foreboding.”
A Chicago-based composer and former trumpeter for the Naples Philharmonic, Stephenson has had works performed by leading American orchestras, instrumentalists and wind ensembles, including the St. Louis and Chicago Symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra. He wrote “Requiem Dances for Children” on commission for FGCU’s Bower School of Music & the Arts and has composed a number of pieces for the school in the past.
The Wind Orchestra will perform most of the same program, including the requiem, when it has the rare opportunity to play one of the country’s most renowned arts venues this summer. The 50-plus student musicians will travel together to Washington, D.C., for a June 18 concert at The Kennedy Center. The orchestra’s previous highest-profile performance was playing New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2015.