Allentown Symphony Orchestra World Premiere


The Allentown Symphony Orchestra, winner of a 2014 Performance Grant, will be giving the World Premiere of Ode to Joy Fanfare by Diane Wittry on Saturday, April 11.  The work was written to precede Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  Wittry has this to say about the work:

It’s the melody that everyone who attends the concert wants to hear, but “Ode to Joy,” with words based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, sung by four soloists and a chorus doesn’t occur until about 45 minutes into the piece.

To solve this dilemma, I decided to write an “Ode to Joy Fanfare” to start off the Beethoven Ninth concert of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. April 11 and 2 p.m. April 12. This way, you can hear your favorite melody right at the beginning of the concert. It is almost like getting to eat desert first.

In my fanfare, I didn’t want to give away the entire melody too soon, so I selected a variety of musical snippets from the movements of the Ninth Symphony and created what I jokingly refer to as “Beethoven Nine in a blender.” I start with a quote of the opening of the last movement, but after that, I give you just fragments and musical motifs that float in and out of the sound.

These are all hints of great themes to come. The “Ode to Joy” melody appears slowly in the piece, just a few notes at a time tossed around the orchestra, but finally when you do hear it completely, it is played not by the members of the Allentown Symphony, but by 30 young string students from the El Sistema Lehigh Valley program. I wanted us to remember the beauty of brotherhood for all mankind, as seen through the eyes of a child.

Diane Wittry is known primarily as a conductor and is currently the Music Director of the Allentown Symphony and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony as well as the Artistic Director for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians.

Her composition career began in 2008, but her works have already garnered national and international attention.  Her work is published by the Theodore Presser Company.

More information and tickets to Saturday’s concert available here.

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