Concerts & Events

Women Composers Night

Karisa Chiu, Featured Soloist for Women Composers Night
Karisa Chiu, Featured Soloist for Women Composers Night

Experience an unforgettable evening of captivating music at the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra’s highly anticipated concert, “Women Composers Night.” Celebrating the remarkable talent of women composers, this extraordinary event promises an enchanting journey through the diverse and groundbreaking works of some of history’s most visionary musical minds. Featuring the extraordinary virtuosity of rising star violin soloist Karisa Chiu, this concert is a must-see for music enthusiasts of all ages.

The program boasts an exquisite selection of compositions that showcase the immense contributions of women to classical music. Immerse yourself in the resounding beauty of Jessie Montgomery’s electrifying Overture, a vibrant and dynamic piece that blends classical and contemporary elements with remarkable finesse. Feel the soul-stirring melodies of Amanda Rontgen Maier’s Violin Concerto, a masterpiece that demonstrates Maier’s unparalleled ability to blend lyricism and technical brilliance.

Prepare to be captivated by Florence Price’s Suite of Dances, a groundbreaking composition by the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra. Through this stunning work, Price deftly weaves together elements of African-American spirituals, classical forms, and rich orchestration to create a tapestry of profound emotion and cultural significance.

Delight in the resplendent melodies of Ethel Smyth’s Serenade for Orchestra, a dazzling piece that showcases her mastery of orchestration and harmonic richness. Smyth, a prominent British suffragette, shattered societal norms and carved her own path as a composer in a male-dominated industry.

As the evening reaches its crescendo, experience the powerful energy of Joan Tower’s Made in America, a tour de force that reflects the pulse and spirit of the United States. Tower, an influential American composer, takes listeners on an exhilarating musical journey through landscapes both familiar and unknown, forging a connection between music and the American experience.

“Women Composers Night” promises to be an extraordinary celebration of musical brilliance, diversity, and innovation. Join us for an enchanting evening where the harmonies of these visionary women composers will stir your soul and leave an indelible mark on your musical journey. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the magic firsthand – secure your tickets today and be part of this remarkable event!


6:00 PM Pre-Concert Talk with Maestro Libor Ondras

6:30 PM Auditorium Doors Open

7:00 PM Concert Begins

Jessie Montgomery – Overture
Amanda Rontgen Maier – Violin Concerto


Florence Price – Suite of Dances (possibly only one movement)
Ethel Smyth – Serenade for Orchestra in D
Joan Tower – Made in America

Post-Concert Reception in West Community Engagement Room

This concert is generously sponsored by Women Who Care in the Tip of the Mitt, Hestia Women’s Giving Circle, Charlevoix County Community Foundation, and the Jeff and Anne Miller Fund.

Women Composers Night


Sat, September 23, 2023
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$35 – $65
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Great Lakes Center for the Arts
800 Bay Harbor Dr.
Petoskey, Michigan 49770
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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.