The next performance of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University is a study in superlatives -- from one of the most memorable melodies of all time to one of the most demanding piano concertos of all time.
The gorgeous Schubert "Unfinished Symphony," a Bryan Symphony favorite, will be offset by the lush and virtuosic Rachmaninoff "3rd Concerto," performed by Tennessee Tech student Joshua Davis, this year's winner of the Joan Derryberry Concerto Competition.
The concert begins at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 18, in Wattenbarger Auditorium, the concert hall of TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $30 for adults, $26 for seniors 65 and up, and $8 for students. Call 931-525-2633 for reservations. The performance is sponsored by Dr. Walter Derryberry of Cookeville, and his two sons, Doug and Pitt Derryberry.
"Schubert has the perfect combination of melodic gift with respect to form," says BSO Music Director Dan Allcott. "His range was huge – from chamber music to symphonies to more than 600 songs – but his life was short, and he went unappreciated in his lifetime. He is far and away my most performed composer, and I have great affection for him."
The BSO's first incarnation, the Tech Community Symphony Orchestra, first played Schubert's "Unfinished" at one of its very earliest concerts, which also included "Carnival of the Animals" by Saint-Saens with Tennessee Tech First Lady Joan Derryberry at the piano.
Derryberry, a concert pianist and a well-known painter, taught music at the university for years, and she and her husband, President Everett Derryberry, helped establish the symphony orchestra in 1963. Years later, a music award was created in her honor and has since become one of the university's most important music prizes. Students are nominated by their music professors to perform in a competition juried by outside panelists; the winner receives a cash award and the opportunity to perform his or her winning concerto with the Bryan Symphony Orchestra.
The 2012 prize winner, freshman Joshua Davis, began piano lessons when he was 9 years old. As a teenager, he won the Herman Godes Award at the TTU Young Artist Piano Competition, beginning his studies with Tennessee Tech music professor Catherine Godes in 2008. He's since performed four solo recitals and is currently preparing for the Music Teachers National Association's Young Artist Steinway Piano Competition.
A number of BSO events are scheduled between now and March 18:
• "BSO Backstage": 7 p.m., Friday, March 9; and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 17, on public television station WCTE-TV (Ch. 10 on Charter cable in Cookeville and Ch. 22 on Dish and Direct satellite).
• Cumberland County preview concert luncheon: 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 14, at the Palace Theater on Main Street in Crossville. Cost is $10 and payable at the door. Call 931-484-6133 for reservations by Monday, March 12.
• Symphony Social: 7 p.m., Friday, March 16, at the home of Terry and Ruth Jones of Cookeville. Admission is $20 and payable at the door, but please make reservations by Monday, March 12, by calling 931-525-2633.
• Derryberry art exhibition: Sunday, March 18, lobby of the Bryan Fine Arts Building. A special one-day showing of paintings by Joan Derryberry has been curated by Walter Derryberry and artist Sally Crain-Jager, TTU emeritus professor of art. Crain-Jager will give two short walking tours of the exhibit: from 1:45 to 2 p.m. and from 2:15 to 2:30 p.m.
• Concert preview lecture: 2 p.m., Sunday, March 18, Room 223 of the Bryan Fine Arts Building. The lecture is given by TTU music professor Catherine Godes, faculty mentor of the 2012 Derryberry Competition winner.
• Concert: 3 p.m., Sunday, March 18, Wattenbarger Auditorium.
• Post-concert reception: Sunday, March 18, lobby of the Bryan Fine Arts Building.
• Post-concert dinner: Sunday, March 18, Mauricio's Italian Restaurant, 232 N. Peachtree Ave. Call 931-525-2633 for dinner reservations by noon, Saturday, March 17.
The only professional symphony in residence outside a metropolitan area in Tennessee, the Bryan Symphony will be celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2012-2013 season. Learn more at www.bryansymphony.org.