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Moving tribute features the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra 
performing selections from Ward’s internationally lauded body of work

One night only performance on March 29th at 7:30 pm at the Stevens Center

Tickets $13-15. (336) 721-1945


WINSTON-SALEMNC – The School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts present UNCSA Symphony Orchestra: Remembering Robert Ward, a moving and highly personal tribute celebrating the life and works of one of orchestral music’s most celebrated talents.

As a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Opera Honors recipient, Ward spent his life in pursuit of a stronger foundation for the arts. He earned the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for his opera The Crucible, and was among the founders of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He served as its President (and later, Chancellor) from 1967-74. Ward died in April 2013 at his home in Durham. He was 95.

“UNCSA owes a great deal to Robert Ward,” said Executive Producer Katharine Laidlaw. “Our school was founded with high ideals, higher expectations, and a hugely ambitious vision. Robert Ward was instrumental in turning those dreams into reality. He rose to the task, and elevated us all. We continue to benefit from his extraordinary work.”


According to Wade Weast, Dean of the School of Music, Dr. Ward’s multigenerational influence is particularly significant to his work. “Dr. Ward studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, and our own composition faculty member Kenneth Frazelle studied with Dr. Ward at UNCSA. This is significant because in the music world, we care a great deal about lineage and often trace the influence a particular composer might have had on their students. This concert explores that concept over three generations of composers.

This is not the first time UNC School of the Arts has performed Ward’s work. Conductor James Allbritten has put together a concert of two of Dr. Ward's works (By Way of Memories and Symphony No. 2) as well as a work by Dr. Ward's teacher, Aaron Copland (Letter From Home), and a work by Ward’s student, Kenneth Frazelle (Triple Concerto). “So in fact, some of our current composition students are studying with a teacher who is, in essence, a ‘grand-student’ of Aaron Copland, often described as the Dean of American Music,” Weast said.

Ward was UNCSA’s second top administrator, becoming President upon the death of Vittorio Giannini just one-and-a-half years into the school’s founding. During his tenure, he oversaw the integration of the School of the Arts into the University of Carolina system.

Ward initiated UNCSA’s International Music Program and International Dance Program, both of which endured for years. He oversaw the creation of the School of Design and Production and the high school Visual Arts Program. He helped lay the foundations for Piedmont Opera, which remains closely tied to UNCSA. While Chancellor, Ward taught composition in the School of Music. He continued to teach from 1975-79, after stepping down as Chancellor.

A composer of music in a wide variety of genres, Ward’s most enduring and well-known work is The Crucible, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1962. In 2011, he received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Opera Honors, the nation’s highest award in opera.

Longtime friend Chancellor Emeritus Alex C. Ewing said, “It was the great good fortune of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts that Dr. Robert Ward was here to become its first Chancellor after President Giannini died.

“Bob Ward was a wise, compassionate, energetic leader, as well as an eminent composer and champion of the arts,” Ewing continued. “We all still look up to him as a founding father and pillar of the school.”

Trustee Emeritus and UNCSA founder Thomas S. Kenan, III, recalled that he saw Ward in February 2013, when the North Carolina Symphony performed the composer’s works at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill. “He was on the front row, stood up and took a bow and was greeted by many after the performance,” Kenan said. “He truly loved UNCSA and his time spent as Chancellor. An era has passed.”

Faculty-artist Kenneth Frazelle, who studied under Ward as a high school student in the School of Music, said his mentor “had the courage and commitment to write the music he loved, despite the critical or academic trends of the time. His music is direct, deeply felt, and profoundly American, and will endure in its fine craftsmanship and generous open-heartedness.

“Ward’s artistry and insight are alive everywhere that one of his students teaches,” Frazelle continued. “Just yesterday in my classes I passed on words of wisdom from Bob Ward no less than three times.”

Frazelle noted that the four years he spent studying with Ward “will always remain among my fondest and most musically illuminating memories.”

About Robert Ward

Robert Ward, composer, conductor, administrator, educator, and publishing executive, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 13, 1917. He studied theory, orchestration, and piano as a youth and began composing in high school where his early musical influences included Debussy, Ravel, Hindemith, Stravinsky, and jazz. Ward studied composition with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson at the Eastman School of Music from 1935 through 1939. He then studied composition with Frederick Jacobi and conducting with Albert Stoessel and Edgar Schenkman at The Juilliard School from 1939 through 1941. Additional studies in composition occurred with Aaron Copland at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1940 before entering the military as a bandleader in the US Army from 1942 through 1946. While serving in the Pacific theater of operations, Ward met Mary Benedict, his wife of 62 years with whom he had five children. After the war he returned to The Juilliard School and received his Artist Certificate in 1946. Ward taught at Juilliard from 1947 to 1956 where he also headed its development office, and at Columbia University from 1946 to 1958. He received three Guggenheim Fellowships (1950, 1951, 1966), and was director of the Third Street Music Settlement from 1952 to 1955. He was a composer of music in a wide variety of musical genres. His most enduring and well-known work, The Crucible, (1961) won the Pulitzer Prize for Music and the New York Music Critics’ Circle Citation Award in 1962 and was composed during his tenure as Executive Vice President/Managing Editor of Galaxy Music Corporation, a position he held from 1956 to 1966.

Ward served on numerous boards of directors, and was a member of various organizations such as the American Symphony Orchestra League, the National Opera Institute, the Rockefeller Fund for Music, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Ward was president of the then-North Carolina School of the Arts from 1967 to 1974 and was the Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music at Duke University from 1979 to 1989. His achievements in composition have garnered four honorary doctorates: from the Peabody Conservatory, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. Ward’s catalog of compositions includes eight operas, seven symphonies, three concertos, numerous shorter works for orchestra, music for wind ensemble, compositions for a variety of instrumental chamber groups, two cantatas, various genres for vocal ensembles, and songs for solo voice with accompaniment, among others.

His eclectic compositional methods facilitate musical comprehension and reflect various styles used throughout the history of Western art music and, especially in his vocal works, Ward derived both melodic and rhythmic constructions by adapting the syntactic properties of the texts. In this way he achieved a synthesis or internal union of the various expressive elements, thus creating a singular artistic voice within a unified musical structure. Ward’s music is consciously nationalistic and expresses concerns for social and political issues and his interpretation of American idealism.

This is a one night only performance on March 29th at 7:30 pm at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students. The UNCSA Symphony Orchestra is a part of the School of Music at the UNC School of the Arts. Call the UNCSA Box Office at (336) 721-1945 for reservations, or visit www.uncsa.edu/performances to purchase tickets online.

For descriptions, details and links to the entire UNC School of the Arts 2013 - 2014 performance season online, visit www.uncsaevents.com.

About the University of North Carolina School of the Arts

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNC School of the Arts is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“the City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972.

For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.


Calendar Listing


The Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, NC
March 29th at 7:30 pm

Performed by the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra

This concert will feature the music of Robert Ward, his teachers, and his students in a fond remembrance of his dedication to UNCSA. James Allbritten conducts.

MORE INFO: http://uncsaevents.com/event/31122-uncsa-symphony-orchestra-remembering-robert-ward

WEB: www.uncsaevents.com

PHONE: 336-721-1945


Amy Consiglio


(336) 509-0529