WSS to Perform Brahms’ First Symphony

Concert includes World Premiere of UNCSA Composer in Residence Lawrence Dillon’s Katabasis
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Winston-Salem Symphony, Robert Moody Music Director, will present Classics Series concerts featuring Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich’s Overture Festivo, op. 96. Guest artists Brooks Whitehouse, cello, and Paul Sharpe, bass, (also known as Low and Lower) will perform with the Symphony for the world premiere of Lawrence Dillon’s Katabasis for solo cello, solo bass and orchestra. In addition, Low and Lower and the Symphony will perform another Dillon piece entitled Poke for solo cello, solo bass and orchestra. Sharpe and Whitehouse are both faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) where Dillon is composer in residence.

Under the baton of Maestro Moody, the concerts will take place on Sunday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m., and Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 405 W. Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $15 – $67 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online.

A “Music Lovers’ Luncheon,” a fun and informative pre-concert lunch with Maestro Moody and additional guests will take place Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 at noon at The Piedmont Club at 200 West Second Street in downtown Winston-Salem. The luncheon is a great opportunity to learn more about the concert in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations are requested for the Music Lovers’ Luncheon and can be made by calling 336.724.7077. Club membership is not required.

The concert will open with the Overture Festivo, op. 96, by Dmitri Shostakovich, which was composed to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. This uncharacteristically upbeat and cheerful piece opens and closes with a rousing brass fanfare. Full of energy and excitement, this piece is a great way to start the concert.

Brooks Whitehouse, cello, and Paul Sharpe, bass, who make up the duo Low and Lower, will perform with the symphony for the world premiere of contemporary composer Lawrence Dillon’s Katabasis for solo cello, solo bass and orchestra. Katabasis was composed for Low and Lower and was commissioned by a consortium of four orchestras: Winston-Salem Symphony, Queens (New York) Philharmonic, Portland (Maine) Symphony, and Boise (Idaho) Philharmonic. This piece revolves around the theme of a descent into darkness (katabasis) in search of meaning. Katabasis is a companion piece to Poke for solo cello, solo bass and orchestra, which Dillon also wrote for Low and Lower.

The concert will close with Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68. Working under the shadow of Beethoven’s nine masterpieces, Brahms took at least 14 years to write his first symphony. In fact, the main theme in the finale of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 resembles the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In addition, he incorporated elements from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony into his symphony. Brahms intended this as an homage to Beethoven and Brahms’ Symphony stands on its own merits as a great symphonic work that has endured the test of time.

Cellist Brooks Whitehouse and Bassist Paul Sharpe are “Low and Lower,” America’s Number 1-selling cello and bass duo. Their performances are a combination of artistry, virtuosity, and satire. Recently, three new works have been written for Low and Lower by composers Joshua Davis, Bruce Tippette, and John Allemeier, whose “Undercurrents” they premiered on North Carolina State University’s Arts NOW series to enthusiastic reviews. This past winter they toured the northeast, with concerts in Portland and Kittery, Maine, and New Hampshire, where they appeared on Phillips Exeter Academy’s Gilbert Concert Series. They also visited Boston for a studio taping and interview at NPR’s WGBH radio.

Cellist Brooks Whitehouse has performed throughout the United States and abroad, holding Artists-in-Residence positions at SUNY Stony Brook, the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York, the University of Virginia and The Tanglewood Music Center. As founding members of The Guild Trio, Whitehouse and his wife, violinist Janet Orenstein won both the “USIA Artistic Ambassador” and “Chamber Music Yellow Springs” competitions, and with that ensemble they have performed and held master classes throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal, France, and Australia. As a soloist, Whitehouse has appeared with the Boston Pops, the New England Chamber Orchestra, and the Nashua, New Brunswick, Billings, and Owensboro Symphonies. He has appeared in recital throughout the northeastern United States, and his performances have been broadcast on WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young Artist Showcase, WNYC’s Around New York, and the Australian and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation networks. As a guest artist, he has appeared with the American Chamber Players, the New Millennium Ensemble, the JU Piano Trio, The Apple Hill Chamber Players, the Atelier Ensemble, and the New Zealand String Quartet. Whitehouse has recorded for Bridge Records and the Centaur, CRI, and Innova labels, and is Artist/Professor of Cello at UNCSA.

Paul Sharpe is the Artist-Teacher of Double Bass at UNCSA and is active internationally as an orchestral and chamber musician and as a soloist. In the past several years, he has performed in recital and presented master classes at Brazil’s International Double Bass Encounter, France’s Bass2008, the World Bass Festival in Poland, many national and regional double bass symposiums, the Cleveland Institute, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, the University of North Texas, and Interlochen Arts Academy. He has performed as soloist with the Anchorage Symphony, Orquestra de Camara Theatro Sao Pedro (Porto Allegre, Brazil), Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Aspen Young Artists Orchestra, and greatly enjoys performing with the eclectic bass quartet, “Bad Boys of Double Bass.” Prior to his appointment at UNCSA, he was a tenured professor at Texas Tech University, adjunct faculty at University of North Texas, and an instructor at Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois) and the Preucil School of Music. His principal teachers are Jeff Bradetich and Diana Gannett.

This concert and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo; Classics Series Presenting Sponsor Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A; Concert Underwriters The Richard W. Averill Foundation, as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.

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This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

The Winston-Salem Symphony receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Educational initiatives made possible with funding by Wells Fargo, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools.