Robert Franz leads UNCSA Symphony Orchestra in season opening concert on Sept. 30

Alumnus Robert Franz, acclaimed conductor and newly appointed music director of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, will open his season with composition faculty Jared Miller’s thundering and ethereal ode to planet Earth, “Under Sea, Above Sky,” composed for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

UNCSA Symphony Orchestra to open its season on Sept. 30 / Photo: Mark Dellas

UNCSA Symphony Orchestra to open its season on Sept. 30 / Photo: Mark Dellas

The concert will be on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m., at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., downtown. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for non-UNCSA students with valid ID online or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945.

“The opportunity for our students to work on a consistent basis with a professional conductor who is particularly adept at educating is invaluable,” said Dean of the School of Music Saxton Rose “Our students have great admiration for Robert and are incredibly excited. I look forward to seeing all that he does to take our orchestral playing to the next level.”

Described as a “rising star” by MusicWorks magazine, Jared Miller has seen his eclectic music described as “playful” by The New York Times, “hypnotic” by Sequenza 21, “phantasmagorical” by Lucid Culture and “highly personal” by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) Radio. His “Under Sea, Above Sky” was nominated for a JUNO Award (Canada’s music awards) in 2020 for classical composition of the year.

The program will also include the incredibly virtuosic and deeply expressive Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, featuring UNCSA Concerto Competition winner Roni Shitrit, a student of Professor Ida Bieler.

Roni Shitrit

Roni Shitrit

Rounding out the program will be Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. Decades in the making, Brahms’ gripping First Symphony was once facetiously referred to as “Beethoven’s Tenth.” The titanic struggle and final triumph of the composer’s journey to this mighty achievement can be felt from the dramatic C-minor opening to the final Allegro, with noble horn calls and a brass chorale.

About Robert Franz

Acclaimed conductor Robert Franz is music director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) in Canada, artistic director of the Boise Baroque Orchestra (BBO) in Idaho, and and last year served as resident guest conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra. His career has been marked by a commitment to creating alliances and building bridges in the communities he serves, and a dedication to music education.

Familiar from appearances with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Franz has been called “a favorite of local audiences and musicians alike” by CVNC, the classical music website. Of his October performance of the Beethoven Sixth Symphony with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, CVNC wrote: “This is one of Franz's strengths – allaying the form to the content, or to state it backwards, the emotional content of the music never overcomes the structure but if anything, it is reinforced by the structural strength.”

Franz is in increasing demand as a guest conductor, having collaborated with the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Italy’s Orchestra da Camera Fiorentinas. He has performed with a wide array of artists, including James Galway, Joshua Bell, Rachel Barton Pine, Chris Botti, Idina Menzel and Chris Hadfield, as well as composers such as John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon and Jordan Pal.

Franz received his Master of Music in conducting (’92) and his Bachelor of Music in oboe performance (’90) from UNCSA.

About Jared Miller

Jared Miller has worked in collaboration with many ensembles both in North America and internationally including the American Composers Orchestra; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; The Nashville Symphony; the Victoria Symphony; the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton; The Attacca Quartet; Sonora Collective; and more, and soloists who include pianists Sara Davis Buechner, Jani Parsons, Robert Fleitz and Imri Talgam, and violinist Francisco Fullana.

Miller has won numerous awards for composition that include a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Award, the 2011-12 Juilliard Orchestra Competition, three Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) awards for young composers (2011, 2015 and 2019) and SOCAN’s Jan V. Matejcek Award for Excellence in New Classical Composition in 2020.

Born in Los Angeles in 1988, Miller holds master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Samuel Adler and John Corigliano. He has also studied composition with Stephen Chatman and Dorothy Chang and piano with Sara Davis Buechner and Corey Hamm at the University of British Columbia. 

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September 15, 2023