Concerts & Events

From Bohemia’s Woods & Groves

This concert highlights Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto performed by award-winning violin virtuoso Dylana Jenson. Samuel Barber composed his celebrated violin concerto in 1939. The first and second movements are lyrical and melodic, and to these two gorgeous movements Barber adds a finale that is played at breakneck speed, never pauses for breath, utilizes rhythmic complexities and accents that are incredibly virtuosic, with the solo violin playing in a perpetual, continual motion.

The Bohemian character of the solo violin line resonates in Dvořák’s 8th symphony. This G major Symphony is decidedly genial and upbeat; and yet, listening carefully, it is surprising how much minor-key music actually inhabits this major-key symphony. The Eighth Symphony broke new ground from the moment of its premiere. As the composer explained, it was meant to be “different from the other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way.” This “new way” refers to Dvořák’s musical transformation of the Czech countryside he loved into a unique sonic landscape. Within the music, Dvořák included sounds from nature, particularly hunting horn calls and birdsongs played by various wind instruments. Biographer Hanz-Hubert Schönzeler observed, “When one walks in those forests surrounding Dvořák’s country home on a sunny summer’s day, with the birds singing and the leaves of trees rustling in a gentle breeze, one can virtually hear the music.”

Learn more about Dylana Jenson, featured violin soloist, here.



June 10
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Eric Lawson

Assistant Concertmaster

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.