His eyes bright, William Wiedrich motioned with his hands and a tempest magically appeared within the music of the orchestra.
“Dance when its supposed to dance, sing when its supposed to sing, play spooky when its supposed to be spooky,” Wiedrich toldhis students.
Wiedrich, director for the USF Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, is rehearsing Modest Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain in preparation for the orchestra’s end of the year concert on April 24. The concert, to be held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s Ferguson Hall at 7:30 p.m., promises to be an intriguing musical experience. Also including American composer Samuel Barber’s complex “First Essay for Orchestra” and Shostakovich’s “Cello Concerto No. 2,” featuring School of Music faculty member Scott Kluksdahl on cello, the program is deep yet includes music that people will like, according to Wiedrich.
“This music will speak to people in many different ways,” Wiedrich said. “It’s a very evocative, serious program.”
With the USF School of Music’s national reputation for playing contemporary classical music, Wiedrich has created a program that deals with some very thought-provoking sounds.
“I’d say that 95 percent of the positive comments I get are about the contemporary pieces,” he said. “Most professional orchestras are wary of playing contemporary music because of ticket sales and sponsorships. We have the opportunity to be adventurous and cutting-edge.” His goal in making contemporary musical programs, instead of more standard programs made up of composers such as Beethoven, Vivaldi and Mozart, is to make the students as conversant with the music of their own time as with the classics. Performing the work of composers who are prominent now, which he calls the “repertoire of our time,” with the classical giants is part of this goal. Wiedrich maintains these same standards in the other student groups he will be directing in concert this month. On Thursday, USF’s Wind Ensemble will play under his direction, and on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, he will conduct the USF Opera Theatre’s production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, a story of family ties and inner strengths rich in Americana.
As a man with a deep love for music, Wiedrich said he is excited about this month’s concerts. He said he sees them as a chance for himself, for the players and for the audience, to be rejuvenated.
According to Wiedrich “What medicine does for the body, music does for the soul.”
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