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Maryland History Lecture Series at St. John’s College presents “A History of Music in Annapolis” and Celebrates the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary
FOR RELEASE: September 13, 2011
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
As part of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebration, a panel of distinguished musicians and historians will gather at St. John’s College to discuss the past, present, and future of music in Annapolis. A champagne reception with the panelists will follow. This event is offered through the Maryland History Lecture Series; the series is co-sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation and the Friends of St. John’s College. “A History of Music in Annapolis” will be held on Tuesday, October 18, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with reception to follow. Admission is free.
This special presentation features: John Barry Talley, former head of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Music Department; David Hildebrand, music historian and performer; Elliott Zuckerman, pianist and St. John’s College tutor emeritus; Maestro Leon Fleisher, pianist, conductor and former ASO music director; Maestro Jose-Luis Novo, ASO’s current music director. James Cheevers, curator of the U.S. Naval Academy’s museum, will moderate.
“Music is important, perhaps far more important than we usually believe. It is an essential life force,” says Talley. “Music is what we become when we experience it both as audience and performer; it can transform us and transport us to that other place.” As he wrote in his doctoral dissertation, Talley noted that when the city’s wealthy 18th century tobacco planters gathered on Tuesdays, they always brought their music and instruments to play and sing.
Dr. Hildebrand will move to the music composed and performed during the colonial period as well as the 19th century, including the War of 1812 and the Civil War. A graduate of St. John’s College, class of 1797, Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the “Star Spangled Banner” as he watched the conflagration on Baltimore during the War of 1812. In him memory, the text of the national anthem is etched on the walls at the entrance to the Francis Scott Key Auditorium.
Zukerman has been a St. John’s tutor since 1961, and he has enthralled audiences with numerous presentations at Caritas, Annapolis Symphony Symphonic Suppers, and other gatherings. He has also been a guest lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Zuckerman will discuss in detail the musical performance that took place at the opening of the Francis Scott Key Auditorium in 1959.
Talley and Cheevers will talk about the U.S. Naval Academy Band, its distinguished conductors, and the role they played in the community. Members of the U.S Naval Academy band have been part of the ASO since its inception, and they play in the orchestra today. Joseph Zimmerman, the Band’s conductor, wrote and orchestrated the Navy’s “Anchors Away”.
Returning to Annapolis for this program, Maestro Fleisher will discuss his 12 years as the ASO’s music director, from 1970 to 1982. His career as a celebrated pianist and professor at the Peabody Conservatory informed his leadership of the fledgling community orchestra and enabled its rise to a fully professional ensemble. Maestro Novo has taken the orchestra to new artistic levels.