UNCSA Symphony Orchestra gives first of two concerts conducted by alumnus Robert Franz

The School of Music will present two concerts with alumnus Robert Franz (B.M. ’90, M.M. ’92) as resident guest conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra during the 2022-23 season.

The orchestra and Franz will open the season with a concert on Saturday Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St. Tickets are $20 regular and $15 for students.

Jack King

UNCSA Wind Ensembles: Across The Pond, Jack King / Photo: Allison Lee Isley

The program will comprise Jessie Montgomery’s “Banner” for string quartet and chamber orchestra, which the composer calls “a rhapsody on the theme of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’”; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral Symphony,” which the composer called an expression of nature; and 2022 UNCSA Concerto Competition winner Jack King (H.S. Music '22), from Wilmington, performing Jacques Ibert’s demanding Flute Concerto.

Of the program, Robert Franz said, “Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony represents a reflection of his love of nature and desire to continually push the boundaries of how a symphony should be designed. Jessie Montgomery has a similar capability of broadening our minds as she plays with our beloved national anthem.”

Written in 2014 as a tribute to the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Banner” is a follow-up to “Anthem,” written by Montgomery as a tribute to the historic election of Barack Obama as president.

“A tribute to the U.S. national anthem means acknowledging the contradictions, leaps and bounds, and milestones that allow us to celebrate and maintain the tradition of our ideals,” 

- Montgomery

Franz added, “Returning to UNCSA means the world to me. After all, it was on this stage that I began my journey as an artist. Helping guide the way for the next generation of artists is an extraordinary privilege.”

Robert Franz

Photo: Isaac Ortiz

Recognized as “an outstanding musician with profound intelligence,” conductor Robert Franz is music director of the Windsor (Ontario, Canada) Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Houston Symphony, and artistic director of the Boise Baroque Orchestra. Franz is in increasing demand as a guest conductor, having collaborated with The Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and Winston-Salem Symphony, among others. He has performed with a wide array of renowned artists, including James Galway, Joshua Bell, Rachel Barton Pine, Chris Botti, Idina Menzel, and Judy Collins, as well as with composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Daugherty, John Harbison, Jordan Pal and Jennifer Higdon.

Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, poetry and social consciousness, making her an acute interpreter of 21st-century American sound and experience. Her works have been described as "turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post). For more information, visit Jessie Montgomery's website.

The next UNCSA Symphony Orchestra concert with Franz will be March 24, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center. The concert will feature Florence Price’s Concert Overture No. 2, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, and the world premiere of a piano concerto by UNCSA alumnus Robert Chumbley (H.S. Music, ’71).

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September 14, 2022