Alma Symphony Orchestra Promotes ‘Stars of Tomorrow’

Concert showcases the winners of the Alma College Concerto Competition.

Murray Gross directs the Alma Symphony Orchestra. Murray Gross directs the Alma Symphony Orchestra.The Alma Symphony Orchestra will showcase the winners of the Alma College Concerto Competition during its annual mid-winter performance featuring familiar works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and more.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18 in the Remick Heritage Center at Alma College. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

“We have six diverse pieces on our program, with three of them featuring Alma College students,” says ASO Music Director Murray Gross. “Every two years we showcase students who audition in December for the opportunity to perform in our February concert.”

The featured student soloists are Rockford sophomore Bridget Eshleman in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, Holland senior Andrew Belanger in Toshiro Mayuzumi’s Concertino for Xylophone and Orchestra, and Kewadin junior Brandon Bruce in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Tuba Concerto.

Alma Symphony Orchestra musicians. Alma Symphony Orchestra musicians.“These are radically different works,” says Gross. “The Mozart concerto is very beautiful; the Mayuzumi piece is contemporary, lively and accessible; and the Vaughan Williams movement is slow and melodic. Andrew on xylophone and Brandon on tuba are playing instruments that audience members don’t often get to hear in a concerto performance, and the pieces are very enjoyable.”

The program also will feature the “upbeat and exciting” first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and the “ravishing” third movement of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. The concert will close with “Café Neon: Fantasy on Greek Songs and Dances” by Steven Karidoyanes.

“We’ve performed this piece before, but it’s so much fun for both the players and the audience that we are playing it again,” says Gross.

The concert — with its diverse program, familiar music and variety of soloists — is ideal for the entire family and for people who have not attended symphonic concerts to try something new, says Gross.

“The program features a wonderful range of memorable melodies,” he says. “The audience will be inspired by the music and these exceptional young performers.”

The approximately 80-member Alma Symphony Orchestra includes a mix of professional musicians from the mid-Michigan area and Alma College student-performers.

Story published on January 31, 2018