Sunday concert to recognize DePauw's 175th anniversary

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Noting the 175th anniversary of DePauw University, the DePauw Orchestra will open its season Sunday with a concert celebrating music of the 19th century, particularly the 1830s.

The 3 p.m. program will take place in Kresge Auditorium in DePauw's Green Center for the Performing Arts.

Orcenith Smith will conduct the performance, which begins with French composer Daniel Auber's overture to the opera "Fra Diavolo," followed by excerpts from the Orchestral Suites, BWV 1066-1069 by J.S. Bach and the intermezzo from the opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni.

The program will culminate in a performance of English composer Sir Edward Elgar's" Variations on an Original Theme," a set of 14 small pieces commonly known as the "Enigma Variations."

While Indiana Asbury (now known as DePauw) welcomed its first professor and students in 1837, Auber's "Brother Devil" was wildly successful in Europe -- making its way to New York in just two years, as a consequence of his clever and energetic use of melody.

DePauw's founding as "an ecumenical institution of national stature" would subsequently create need for sacred music by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, whose work had not been fully discovered by Europe until composer Felix Mendelssohn brought it to the attention of audiences in 1838. The DePauw Orchestra's performance of J.S. Bach's orchestral suites celebrates that rediscovery.

"As we begin the year, we survey literature appropriate for the student musicians, enjoyable for our audience, and relevant to topics of interest," Prof. Smith says of the selection of music for the opening concert. "The Auber and the Bach find their connection to the audience by placing in an historical context what was going on in classical music at the time DePauw University was being founded."

The final work on the program, Elgar's "Variations on an Original Theme," connects to college life also, according to Smith, as it is about developing friendships and relationships. Each movement is dedicated to a friend and denotes personal characteristics and traits of these acquaintances -- including a mysterious unnamed romanza know only by the title "***".

General admission tickets for DePauw Orchestra performances are $3, while tickets for all students and seniors over 65 are free. For additional information, visit the box office of the Green Center, 605 S. College Ave. It is open Monday-through-Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Founded in 1884, the DePauw University School of Music is the nation's sixth-oldest private institution for post-secondary music instruction and the longest-running in Indiana.

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