The opening concert of the season features GLCO’s strings in a program the explores the development of American “classical” music from the mid-19th century all the way to contemporary trends in the 21st century. Program includes compositions from the early 20th century (William Grant Still) showcasing the developments pivotal in the history of American classical music as it established the characteristics that set it apart from its European ancestors. Composers like Grant Still, Piazzolla, & Morton Gould, created synthesis of music from several traditions (popular music, jazz, European music). Many of the classical composers of the 20th century (Barber, Villa-Lobos, O’Connor) were influenced by folk traditions capturing the “Americana” spirit in their compositions. A number of important works came from immigrant composers (Milhaud) who came to America for a variety of reasons, including persecution, aesthetic freedom and economic opportunity. The remaining two composers featured on this program (Bolcom, Paus) represent the contemporary trends that pay homage to the past generations of American composers by picking up dropped thread of American classical music traditions.
Mark O’Connor: American seasons (Summer)
Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion
Samuel Barber: Serenade op. 1
William Grant Still: Serenade
Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche – Modere, Brasileira
Alt*Aaron Jay Kernis: Elegy (For those we lost)
Hector Villa Lobos: Bachianas Brazileiras No 5. Aria (arr. M. Naughtin)
William Bolcom: 3 rags – Poltergeist, Graceful ghost, Incineratorag
Marcus Paus: Two Lyric Pieces
Morton Gould: String music – Tango, Ballad and Strum movements
Special thanks to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for sponsoring this performance
Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.
Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.
And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.