Barber 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. 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.
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.