Maestro Leppard conducts FACS

Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Paul Krasnovsky gives a brief history on the pieces performed in the Gala Opening. Photo by Mariah Coleman
Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Paul Krasnovsky gives a brief history on the pieces performed in the Gala Opening. Photo by Mariah Coleman

The University of Indianapolis’ music department hosted its annual Gala Opening performance at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall of the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Conductor Laureate and former Musical Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and UIndy Artist-in-Residence Maestro Raymond Leppard conducted the concert. Accompanying Leppard was guest artist and ISO Concertmaster Zachary DePue.

The stage in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall was opened to President Robert Manuel who addressed the crowd and offered insight into what he said is “one of the best traditions we have here at the university.”

“It [the gala] leads a series of more than 60 cultural events on campus this year that bring together the community, our faculty, our staff, our students and special members inside our community to create an anchor of arts and culture on the southside,” Manuel said. “What this means is they’re committed to bringing together cultural, intellectual and fun events on campus that raise the quality of life for people who live around us.”   

The performance opened with the UIndy Festival Orchestra performing the “Capriol Suite,” by Peter Warlock, from 1926. The pieces included “Basse-Danse: Allegro moderato,” “Pavane: Allegretto, ma un poco lento,” “Tordion: Con moto,” Bransles: Presto,” “Pieds-en-l’air: Adante tranquillo” and “Mattachins: Allegro con brio.”

The next piece performed by the Festival Orchestra was Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043,” which included “Vivace,” “Largo ma non tanto” and “Allegro.” The piece featured Zachary DePue and Assistant Professor of Music Austin Hartman on violin.

After a brief intermission, the Festival Orchestra returned with the UIndy Concert Choir and UIndy music department faculty and a guest performer as the solo quartet, including Professor of Music Kathleen Hacker, soprano; Assistant Professor of Music Mitzi Westra, mezzo-soprano; guest artist Trey Smagur, tenor; and Adjunct Faculty Member Daniel Narducci, bass-baritone.

Together they performed Joseph Haydn’s Mass “Missa Sancti Nicolai, Hob. XXII:6.” The movements of the piece included “Kyrie eleison (Allegretto),” “Gloria,” “Credo,” “Sanctus (Adagio-Allegro),” Benedictus (Moderato-Allegro)” and “Agnus Dei.”

Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Paul Krasnovsky prepared the students in the Concert Choir for their performance with Maestro Leppard. According to Krasnovsky, Haydn’s Mass was performed last May, but the choir was made up of new [students] were required to learn the pieces from the beginning.

“We had all these new people, and it’s critical that they learn it as well as everyone else,”  Krasnovsky said.  “We have kids
who have never sung this kind of music before, and they’ve never sung it at the level that we need to perform. They’ve never worked with an orchestra like the Indianapolis Symphony. It’s an entirely different world.”

Krasnovsky said that the Concert Choir had about six rehearsals in the span of two weeks in order to properly understand the piece. He also said that the university can expect great things to come to Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

“It’s remarkable what goes on in our music department. We have talent at every level–students, faculty, guest artists–and it just doesn’t stop,” Krasnovsky said.

The next performance in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall is Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. This event features Rachel Caswell in the first Jazz Artist Concert Series of the 2016-17 academic year.