Symphony Orchestra welcomes guest conductor Mark Gibson for Nov. 23 concert
Mark Gibson, who enjoys a career that has spanned three continents, will conduct the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra in a program featuring Gustav Mahler’s epic First Symphony alongside a contemporary work by Gabriela Lena Frank that draws on the composer’s multicultural heritage. The performance will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center, 405 West Fourth St. in downtown Winston-Salem.
“This program contrasts a well-known classical work and a contemporary composition, illustrating our commitment in the School of Music to provide a robust training experience for our students, one steeped in history but laced with diverse new expressions,” said Interim Dean Tony Woodcock.
Gibson is the director of orchestra studies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM); music director of the CCM Philharmonia; and visiting conducting faculty at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and the Hochschüle für Musik und Theater in Munich, Germany.
“Mark Gibson is a brilliant choice of conductor to lead our gifted students through this demanding program,” Woodcock said. “He has conducted and taught around the world, and both the performers and the audiences will be enthralled by his artistry.”
Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony, a monumental work requiring augmented orchestral forces, is described by the composer as being “like a sound of nature.” Mahler revised the work, composed between late 1887 and March 1888, on several occasions. While the history of First Symphony is one of misunderstanding and oftentimes rejection, Mahler would come to be seen as a composer of vision and daring. Audiences should listen for the large horn section playing out over the orchestra in the triumphant finale.
The concert will also feature Gabriela Lena Frank’s "Peregrinos" (Pilgrims). This 21st-century work was inspired by the composer’s two-year residency with the Indianapolis Symphony and gives an inside glimpse of the city’s thriving and quickly-growing Latino community.
Frank, who performs with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, is the winner of a Latin Grammy Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a United States Artist Fellowship and a Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization for outstanding young Black and Latino leaders in classical music. Her work draws on her multicultural heritage, particularly the culture of her Peruvian mother.
This program contrasts a well-known classical work and a contemporary composition, illustrating our commitment in the School of Music to provide a robust training experience for our students, one steeped in history but laced with diverse new expressions.
“One of the great challenges our students will face in their careers is finding their role in making classical musical relevant to new audiences. Both works on this program illustrate universal – and timeless – themes of struggle and hope,” Woodcock said.
About Mark Gibson
Mark Gibson, music director of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory (CCM) of Music Philharmonia Orchestra, enjoys a career that has spanned three continents, guest conducting and teaching from Munich to Manila. While director of orchestral studies at CCM, he also serves as guest conducting faculty at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, Germany.
Prior to his arrival in Cincinnati, Gibson served as principal conductor of the Alabama Symphony; visiting director of orchestral studies at the Eastman School of Music; and music director of the New York City Opera National Company, Ash Lawn-Highland Summer Festival and Opera de Mahon in Menorca, Spain. He has also served as artistic director of the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy and director of the opera conducting course at CCM Spoleto.
Gibson's previous engagements include the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Pacific, New Orleans Opera, Cleveland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Spoleto U.S.A. His international credits include Central Opera of Beijing; orchestras in Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Shenzhen and Qingdao, China; the Opera de Valencia; Opera de Malaga; and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. A frequent guest lecturer on conducting, he has also led master classes and concerts at many conservatories around the world, including the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, Seoul National University, National Taiwan Normal University, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Recent appearances in Asia include New Year’s concerts in Chengdu and with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and holiday galas at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing as well as his debut with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila. In Korea, Gibson has led the KBS Symphony Orchestra in concert and has conducted with the Seoul Metropolitan Opera at Sejong Center. He has also appeared on the podiums of the Korean Chamber Ensemble, the New Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra and Gloria Opera Company, as well as teaching master classes at Seoul National University and Catholic University.
In February 2017, Oxford University Press released Gibson’s highly anticipated and acclaimed book on conducting and musical matters, “The Beat Stops Here.”
He has a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Michigan.