SUU Small Ensembles present concerts

Southern Utah University’s small ensembles presented their concerts this week, with the woodwind and brass ensembles performing on Nov. 13 and the piano and string ensembles performing on Nov. 14. Each concert was held in Thorley Recital Hall at 7:30 pm. The ensembles are organized by instrumental family but are divided individually into several chamber groups, such as duets, trios and quartets. 

The woodwind ensembles, instructed by Trevor Davis, began the program on Nov. 13. A quartet for saxophone titled “Amusement Park Suite” by Hiroki Takahashi was first. As the title suggests, the piece depicts a stroll through an amusement park and the attractions located within. 

They were followed by a flute choir playing “Amazing Grace.” Some other highlights from the evening include a clarinet duet; a flute, oboe and bassoon trio; and the SUU Flute Club. The woodwind ensembles concluded their portion of the evening with a woodwind quintet, which performed “Five Easy Dances” by Denes Agay. Various popular dances were depicted in the music, such as the tango, waltz and rumba. 

Following the woodwind groups, the brass ensembles, under the direction of David Torres, performed their portion of the program. Their first piece was “Prismatic Light” by Alan Fernie, a piece for brass choir and percussion. A portion of the following program was made up of popular tunes arranged for various brass ensembles, such as “All You Need is Love” by John Lennon, arranged for two trumpets, french horn, trombone and tuba. The brass ensembles finished the concert with “Gloria all’Egitto” and “Marcia Trionfale” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida.” 

On Nov. 14, the piano and string ensembles performed, beginning with a piano quartet titled “Eight Hands in Praise,” an arrangement of several religious tunes by Joel Raney. Under the direction of Aubrey Shirts, various combinations performed works by many recognizable composers, such as Mozart, Poulenc, Joplin and Prokofiev. The piano ensemble’s last piece was an arrangement of “Danse Macabre, op. 40” by Camille Saint-Saëns, a symphonic poem depicting the medieval allegory of the dance of death.

“Adagio for Strings” began the string ensembles’ portion of the concert. The haunting piece by Samuel Barber was first performed in 1938 and is arguably the composer’s most recognizable composition. The concert concluded with “Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Several students were featured as soloists, as the two solo violin parts were played by different players each movement. The string ensemble is under the direction of Xun Sun. 

The small ensemble concerts begin a week of performances across SUU’s music department. The Symphony Orchestra will perform on Nov. 15, and the Jazz Ensembles will fill the Heritage Center on Nov. 17. For more information regarding upcoming concerts, visit the music department website. The live streams of each small ensemble concert can be found on the music department’s YouTube channel

Story by: Gracie Butterfield
Photos courtesy of SUTV-9
Editor: Tessa Cheshire