The Dana School of Music’s annual New Music Festival, now in its 29th year, opened Friday with a convocation and continues next week. It features a variety of performers, ranging from soloists and small ensembles to the Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Youngstown State University Wind Ensemble.
All events except the Wind Ensemble Concert are free. Parking at YSU is available in the M1 Wick Avenue parking deck for a nominal fee.
The festival will culminate in the Gala Festival Concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. Columba Cathedral, featuring the festival orchestra, composers ensemble and guest artists The Sobieski Family.
The Sobieski family (Dorota Sobieska, soprano; Jacek Sobieski, piano; Wanda Sobieska, violin; Aleksandra Sobieska, soprano; and Julian Sobieski, bass) performs contemporary Polish music.
Jacek Sobieski is the fourth generation of a Polish family of musicians and musicologists. He served for almost two decades as music director of the National Theater in Warsaw.
He has lived in the U.S. since 1988 and is music director of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Boardman. In 1995, he and his wife, Dorota, founded Opera Circle. Jacek has musically directed and conducted many of its productions.
Soprano Dorota Sobieska has performed a variety of operatic roles, often in bel canto style, and also is a recitalist.
Their daughter Wanda has studied violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory and is a freelance violinist/violist in the Cleveland area. Julian Sobieski and Aleksandra Sobieska are both active in the Opera Circle productions.
On Monday, the YSU Wind Ensemble, directed by Stephen Gage, will present a concert that will feature two major works by contemporary composers: Perry Goldstein’s “Abundant Air” and Carter Pann’s “Symphony No. 1: My Brother’s Brain.”
On Wednesday, the Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Rollin, will premiere senior composition major Samantha Hogan’s “Eclectic Images,” a colorful suite of four descriptive pieces.
A movement of the late Dana alumnus Tim Webb’s Samson Suite will be played as a memorial to the composer who lost his life last fall. A movement from graduating senior Carol Ann Smolka’s “Images of Helen Keller” also will be played.
Dana Faculty member Rollin’s “Pearls Variations” for violin and string orchestra will be premiered with Dana alumnus Ethan Howard as soloist.
Sean Baran’s performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “La Verbe” from “La Nativite de Seigneur,” a collection of nine meditations on the birth of Christ for organ, also will be heard at Wednesday’s concert.
Several other chamber works will be presented, including those of Yanda Zhu, a graduate student from China; Christopher Nutter, clarinet; Jerry Rezanka, piano; Marianne Szalaj and Natalie Sahyoun; Stephen Kline, horn, and Maria Fesz, cello; and Alison Morris, piano. Samantha Hogan’s “Desert Clocks” for sopranos, oboe and piano also will be premiered.