posted October 29, 2007

Concert to Feature Commissioned Piece

The Hope College orchestra and organist Dr. Huw Lewis will premiere a piece commissioned for the college on Friday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The "Concerto for Organ and Orchestra" was written by Benjamin Boyle. The piece was commissioned by the college to celebrate the refurbishing of the Skinner Organ. This concert is the fifth and final performance of the Skinner Organ Rededication Series.

Boyle was selected as Young Concert Artists (YCA) Composer-in-Residence for the years 2005-07 and holds YCA's William B. Butz Composer Chair.  During this time, YCA commissioned two works from him, which were premiered by YCA artists in the Young Concert Artists Series.  Boyle's compositions include opera, chamber music, art songs, and sacred and orchestral music.

Boyle holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Music in composition from The Peabody Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music in piano from the University of South Florida, where he studied with Robert Helps.  He has studied with an impressive list of renowned composers including Narcis Bonet, David del Tredici, Christopher Theofanidis, Samuel Adler, Lukas Foss, and Nicholas Maw.  He also studied for several years with Dr. Philip Lasser at the European-American Musical Alliance (EAMA) program at L'Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, where he returns each summer as a faculty member.

The performance will also include the "Overture to the 'Barber of Seville'" by Giocchino Rossini and "Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13" by Peter Tchaikovsky.

The Hope College Orchestra performs under the direction of faculty member Richard Piippo.  Dr. Huw Lewis is college organist and professor of music at Hope.

The Skinner organ's recent restoration by the A. Thompson-Allen Company--which emphasized preserving its original character--took nearly two years, from January 2005 through the latter part of 2006. The entire organ, including all 2,932 pipes and the console, was removed and taken to New Haven, Conn., for the work, through which the instrument was repaired and restored to its original factory specifications. In addition, the chambers housing the pipes were renovated and the chapel's roof drainage system was modified to repair and prevent water damage caused by the building's original design. The most major work previously done on the organ had been conducted more than 40 years earlier, in 1963, when it had been cleaned, refurbished, releathered and regulated.

The concert is also part of the college's annual Parents' Weekend. A reception with Benjamin Boyle will follow the performance.

Major funding for the commission and the series comes from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Freedom Village of Holland, and many individual donors.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.