Music for Prague 1968- 50th Anniversary of a 20th Century Masterpiece

MIT Wind Ensemble

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 - 08:00pm
General Admission: $5, Free in advance for students
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MIT Wind Ensemble. Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director, Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor, Stephen C. Massey, guest conductor. Husa, Music for Prague 1968; Kathryn Salfelder, World Premiere of Insurgence for percussion septet; Heiden, Diversion for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble, Jess Hebert, G, Alto Saxophone; Bernstein, Profanation from Symphony no. 1, Jeremiah; Persichetti, Pageant; Kenneth Amis, Kirkos. 8pm, Kresge Auditorium.

With over 10,000 performances worldwide, Czech-born American composer Karel Husa’s Music for Prague 1968 has become not only a staple of wind literature but also an anthem of freedom of the oppressed. Husa (1921-2016) who moved to the U.S. in 1954 to become a professor of music at Cornell University, wrote his programmatic work Music for Prague 1968 in reaction to the August 21st, 1968 Soviet Union invasion of Prague, the composer’s home city. The powerful and emotionally wrought piece is full of symbolism including a 15th century Hussite song, “Ye Warriors of God and his Law,” which Husa describes as “a symbol of resistance and hope for hundreds of years, whenever fate lay heavy on the Czech nation.” Upon the 20th anniversary of the composition, Mr. Husa told the Los Angeles Times: “I don’t think of it as a political message for one country. It is universal.” The MIT Wind Ensemble performs Music for Prague 1968 to commemorate its 50th anniversary and to honor the memory of the late Karel Husa.

The rest of this special program features the world premiere of Insurgence by MIT Lecturer in Music Theory, Kathryn Salfelder, her first composition for percussion ensemble, Diversion for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble, Jess Hebert, MIT Ph.D candidate in Biology as soloist, Profanation by Bernstein (honoring the composer’s centennial year), MIT Affiliated Artist and MITWE Assistant Conductor Kenneth Amis’ circus music inspired Kirkos, and Persichetti’s wind standard Paegant, guest conducted by the internationally recognized music educator Stephen C. Massey, formerly Director of Music for the Foxborough Public Schools.