Symphoria To Celebrate Women Composers, Suffrage in SUNY Oswego Concert

Syracuse-based Symphoria will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in SUNY Oswego's Waterman Theatre to showcase achievements of women composers as part of the orchestra's celebration of women's suffrage.
Syracuse-based Symphoria will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre to showcase achievements of women composers as part of the orchestra’s celebration of women’s suffrage.

OSWEGO — Central New York regional orchestra Symphoria will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre to showcase achievements of women composers as part of Symphoria’s celebration of women’s suffrage.

The college’s Artswego Performing Artists Series and the Ke-nekt Chamber Music Series co-sponsor the appearance of the orchestra, which will be about 48 strong — 21 of them women, including the conductor for the evening, Heather Buchman.

The orchestra will honor women composers, performing Caroline Shaw’s “Entre’Acte”; Jennifer Higdon’s “Concerto for Soprano Sax”; Amy Beach’s “Symphony in E-minor,” the “Gaelic” movement; Missy Mazzoli’s “Holy Roller”; and Joan Tower’s “Made in America.”

“Audiences want to see a great orchestra playing great music and on that we always deliver,” said Kelly Covert, the marketing and developing assistant for Symphoria as well as a contributing flute player. Covert is an instructor of flute at Syracuse University, and has taught at SUNY Oswego, Ithaca College and Hamilton College.

Hosting this event will be Trevor Jorgensen, a musician as well as a music faculty member at SUNY Oswego. Jorgensen plays wind instruments, including the saxophone.

“The piece I’m going to be doing is Jennifer Higdon’s ‘Concerto for Soprano Sax,’ which is odd in a way because it was originally written for oboe,” said Jorgensen, who will perform the piece solo.

“She (Higdon) just won the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize. She is the first woman to achieve it,” said Jorgensen. The prize is in Music Composition for 2018, given to a contemporary classical composer of exceptional achievement. Higdon has also won two Grammys, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for “Violin Concerto” and the 2018-19 Eddie Medora King Award, given every two years for achieved excellence in original music composition.

‘Very refreshing’

Covert said she believes women are powerful world changers. “In music and life, women are beginning to be seen as equal and (yet) different, and I find that very refreshing,” she said.

A New York-based violinist, singer and composer, Caroline Shaw won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her a cappella piece “Partita for 8 Voices.”

Amy Beach, a composer and pianist who lived from 1867 to 1944, had the first symphony composed and published by an American woman in the “Gaelic Symphony,” also known as “Symphony in E-minor, Op. 32.”

A contemporary American composer and pianist, Missy Mazzoli has taught composition in the music department of Yale University; was the executive director of New York City’s MATA Festival, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers; and has been called “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” by The New York Times.

Joan Tower’s “Made in America” won 2008 Grammy awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. She is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today.

Symphoria links its performances of “Achievements of Women in Music” to Central New York’s rich history of women who worked hard in leadership roles to gain the right to vote. It is one of only two musician-led cooperative orchestras in America, the organization said.

“One of the beautiful things about Symphoria being a co-op is that the majority of our expenses go directly towards artistic and production costs, with very little going to administrative costs,” said Covert.

Symphoria continues to balance its needs as a growing organization, since a majority of the staff are also musicians. Covert, for example, works on marketing concerts for Symphoria as well as development and fundraising, but for the upcoming concert at SUNY Oswego, she will focus primarily on performing.

Tickets for “Achievements of Women in Music: Symphoria” are $20 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students and other students in grades K-12), and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-3073.

Parking is included in the price of a ticket and is available in the employee lot in front of Culkin Hall and the employee and commuter lots behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls. People with disabilities needing assistance to attend should call 315-312-5420 in advance of the concert.