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WVU Symphony Orchestra opens season

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The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, nationally recognized in 2013 for excellence, will be joined by faculty soprano Mandy Spivak as it opens its new season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre of the Creative Arts Center.
For tickets and information, call 304-293-SHOW.

The orchestra, conducted by Mitchell Arnold, will perform Richard Wagner's "Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey" from the opera "Twilight of the Gods" and "Prelude and Liebestod" from the opera "Tristan und Isolde." Spivak will join the orchestra to sing Isolde's "Liebestod."

"Rarely has music of such intense passion ever been composed," said Arnold, who is director of Orchestral Activities at WVU. "It is music that transfixes, and is captivating in its beauty and intensity."

Following the Wagner portion of the program, and celebrating the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth, the orchestra will perform the "Symphony No. 1 in C Major" by Ludwig van Beethoven.

"This is a work that sparkles with humor and dances off the page with fire. Our fine students perform it with energy, artistry and excitement, bringing out every tinge of color," Arnold said.

Arnold received a doctorate in conducting from Northwestern University and has an extensive background in new music. Before coming to WVU, he was director of orchestras at Northern Illinois University and assistant director of orchestras at Northwestern University. He has also served on the faculties at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music. In March 2013 he made his guest conducting debut with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Charleston.

The WVU Symphony Orchestra was recognized in 2013 as one of the six best in the country by being named a finalist in The American Prize Competition. In addition, the orchestra was one of two collegiate orchestras selected to perform at the annual conference of the College Orchestra Directors Association. This appearance will be in January 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. 

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