Philharmonic to welcome top composer
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The Warren Philharmonic Orchestra will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner — the husband of WPO conductor Susan Davenny Wyner — at Sunday’s season-ending concert.
Titled “Spring in Paris,” the concert will feature the premiere of Yehudi Wyner’s “Maze,” which will feature young solo violinists from the WPO’s Strings of Joy program. The young musicians helped Yehudi compose the piece during his visit to Warren in February.
Yehudi will attend the concert to demonstrate a few secrets about “Maze” before it is performed.
The concert program also includes Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe Suite” and Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”
Also on the bill will be Symphony No. 1 in C major by “Carmen” composer Georges Bizet, who wrote it when he was 17 years old. The symphony was discovered in the 1930s.
Davenny Wyner said the piece by the teen Bizet hints at the greatness to come in “Carmen.”
She describes the Ravel piece as “a lush and colorful love story that set Paris on its ear.”
Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” moves from French impressionism to jazz while vividly depicting taxi horns, smoky cafes and falling-in-love in the City of Light, said Davenny Wyner.
The performance of Yehudi Wyner’s “Maze” will include the following Warren school students who are in the Strings of Joy program: Jalen Chaney and JaNeice Yartz of Willard School; Lariah Coker, Malachi Coker and India Stovell of Jefferson School; and Natalie Sahyoun, violinist and teacher.
Strings of Joy is a collaboration between the WPO and the Warren City Schools Century21 After School Program. Its goal is to put stringed instruments in the hands of children and give them free lessons.
Yehudi Wyner last appeared with the WPO in 2005.
He won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his piano concerto, “Chiavi in Mano.”
One of the nation’s most distinguished musicians, Yehudi Wyner has composed more than 100 works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice and solo instruments, piano, chorus and music for the theater, as well as liturgical services for worship.
He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony, the BBC Philharmonic, the Library of Congress, the Ford Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fromm Foundation, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Worldwide Concurrent Premieres among others.
His recording of “The Mirror” won a 2005 Grammy Award, and his concerto “Chiavi in Mano” was nominated for a 2009 Grammy. In 1997, his “Horntrio” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Yehudi Wyner had an active career as a solo pianist, chamber musician, teacher, director of two opera companies and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles.
He was a professor at the Yale University School of Music from 1963-1977, where he also served as chairman of the composition faculty. He became dean of the music division at State University of New York, Purchase, in 1978, where he was a professor for 12 years.