This Friday will mark an important date in Lawrence history. After 25 years as the director of bands at Lawrence, Robert Levy will conduct his final concert with the Lawrence University Symphonic Band. Levy considers this year’s symphonic band to be “the strongest we’ve ever had at Lawrence,” and has chosen a stunning and difficult program including works from two of the most prominent composers of large wind ensemble repertoire.Warren Benson’s “Danzon-Memory” is a colorful interpretation of poet Carlos Fuentes’ portrayal of the slow dances of the Guay people, a piece Levy describes as “one of the most beautiful slow dances one will ever find.” Karel Husa’s “Music For Prague” is a powerful and complex work inspired by the uprising in Czechoslovakia in the mid-1960s. This piece is well known in the wind band world for its ingenious use of color and instrumentation, often sustaining incredible amounts of energy over a long period of time.
The concert will also feature guest soloist Fan Lei, professor of clarinet here at Lawrence. He is regarded as China’s premier clarinetist, performing in recitals and concerts around the world, as well as on numerous radio and television broadcasts. Fan Lei is a champion of new music, premiering many new works for the clarinet. On Friday he will perform the “Concert Fantasia” by Luigi Bassi, a piece based upon themes and motives from Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto.”
The highlight of the evening will be a performance of Levy’s own composition, “Time Passages for Wind Band.” The piece is a musical depiction of the passage of time throughout an entire 24-hour day. This Friday will undoubtedly be a memorable farewell for director Robert Levy, and a brilliant show for those in attendance.
The Lawrence Symphonic performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 30, in the Memorial Chapel.