General Admission $20 – Senior/Student $15
U18 free with paid admission

Mid-Century Masters: Twentieth Century English Composers

October 29 at Central United Methodist Church, Phoenix

  • Richard Arnell: Symphony no. 6
  • Malcolm Arnold: Symphony no. 5, Op. 74
  • R. Vaughan Williams: Concerto Grosso for String Orchestras Featuring the Harmony Project-Phoenix Orchestra
  • J. M. Gerraughty,MusicaNova Composition Fellow: Stand in the Center and Extend Outward (World Premiere)

English music, 20th century music and movie music are all themes of this concert. Although the Vaughan Williams piece was written in 1936, the Arnold in 1960 and the Arnell in 1992, they were all active, famous and familiar composers in the England of the 1950s.

All three pieces we are doing are strikingly cinematic. That’s not surprising, as all three composers wrote film music, and all are well known as Symphonists: Arnold and Vaughan Williams wrote nine symphonies each, and Arnell wrote six (plus a “Sinfonia Quasi Variazione” that he said was ‘really his 1st Symphony”).

The most famous movies for each composer are:

  • Vaughan Williams: “Scott of the Antarctic” (his 7th Symphony is based on music he wrote for the movie
  • Arnold: “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” for which he won an Oscar, the setting of “Colonel Bogey’s March” is the most famous moment.
  • Arnell: “The Third Secret,” though a case could be made that “The Black Panther” is the more recognized film today-even though it only reached general release three years after the composers’ death.

A Day With Papa Haydn: The Morning, Mid-Day, and Evening Symphonies

January 27, 2018 at Scottsdale Presbyterian Church
January 28, 2018-at Central United Methodist Church

  • Franz Josef Haydn: Symphony no. 6 “Le Matin”
  • Franz Josef Haydn: Symphony no. 7 “Le Midi”
  • Franz Josef Haydn: Symphony no. 8 “Le Soir”
  • Zachary Bush, MusicaNova Composition Fellow: Trepidation (World Premiere)

Haydn’s Morning, Mid-Day, and Evening symphonies are extraordinary in many ways. They were the first he wrote after taking the appointment as Deputy Kapellmeister (Music Master) at the Court of Prince Nikolaus I. Esterhazy, “The Magnificent,” in 1761. Haydn meant to both establish himself and usurp  the position of the aging Kapellmeister by showing that he had skills that his older colleague could only dream of.

The symphonies are in fact in a hybrid form as there are solos for all the principal players in the orchestra, so they sound as much like a concerto grosso as a symphony. By introducing these solos he was also currying favor with the musicians in the orchestra – who received additional pay for playing solos! – and the highly sophisticated music that he wrote was a delightful shock to the court. Sure enough, he was soon in charge of all music at the Prince’s court.

The depiction of a sunrise at the opening of Symphony No. 6 is deeply symbolic. It was a new beginning for Haydn, who had suffered years of poverty as freelancer, and the beginning of a new era of music. The Classical era of musical composition began with these symphonies, succeeding the Baroque era of Bach and Handel.


General Admission $20 – Senior/Student $15
U18 free with paid admission

General Admission $20 – Senior/Student $15
U18 free with paid admission

St. John Passion: An Eastertide Oratorio

March 25, 2018 at Scottsdale Presbyterian Church

  • J. S. Bach, St. John Passion
  • Performed by the MusicaNova Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists

This highly controversial work is one of Bach’s most unusual creations. The text is based on Books 18 and 19 of the Lutheran Bible, with some additional texts. It has an interesting distinction between the Choruses, sung by a small group of well rehearsed singers, and Chorales, which could be sung by the congregation.

Featured roles include the Evangelist, Jesus, and Pontius Pilate. The solo part of the Evangelist, who narrates the oratorio, is extraordinarily demanding, even for Bach (who was not kind to singers).

He uses archaic instruments like a lute, viola d’amore and viola da gamba in the orchestra, to great effect The work is controversial because it is based on a Gospel source that is widely regarded as anti-Semitic. but the extent of the anti-semitic intent is very difficult to gauge-this is an issue we want to explore in pre-concert talks and discussions of the music.

Ports of Call: Music From Around the World

April 22, 2018 at Central United Methodist Church

  • Jacques Ibert: Ports of Call
  • Carl Nielsen: Clarinet Concerto No. 57, featuring Alex Dergal, clarinet soloist
  • Francis Poulenc: Concerto for Two Pianos, FP61 arranged for one piano and performed by Dmitry Feofanov
  • Jean-Philippe Rameau: Suite from “Les Indes Galantes”
  • World Premiere from a MusicaNova Composition Fellow

The idea of traveling through music is central to this program. First, the Ibert piece Ports of Call, imagines a musical journey on a Mediterranean cruise, as you stop off at various points along the way. The Poulenc Concerto was influenced the composer’s travels to Bali, where he integrated gamelan sounds into the musical fabric.

Nielsen’s clarinet concerto sounds like jazz had infused the Danish character of the music, and the Rameau Suite from Les Indes Galantes is a musical journey through the New World — a truly exotic location for an 18th Century French composer. The incredible “Danse des Sauvages” swings like a ragtime number, and was inspired by Rameau hearing Native American music at an exhibition in Paris some years before he wrote the opera!

In all of these works the exotic elements are integrated in a style that is distinctive to the composer, whose identity remains intact even as he journeys musically into another realm.

General Admission $20 – Senior/Student $15
U18 free with paid admission


MusicaNova Orchestra concerts are recorded by Vault Mastering for release on archival CD and broadcast on public radio and television throughout Arizona

Vault Mastering Studios
POAC text logo 2017 - ORANGE bird (grantee)-01
Arizona Commission on the Arts
City of Tempe Arts Grants

General Admission $20 – Seniors and Students $15
Under 18 free with a paid admission – 
Tickets available online or at the door

MusicaNova Orchestra Concerts are supported in part by grants from  the
Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and Tempe Arts Grants