Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert to present world premiere work

Local composer and music professor A.K. Jaquith will premiere a new original piece called "Light on the Horizon" addressing the pandemic and the hope in getting through it at Saturday's Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Contributed photo

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Local composer and music professor A.K. Jaquith will premiere a new original piece called "Light on the Horizon" addressing the pandemic and the hope in getting through it at Saturday's Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert. Contributed photo

With the COVID-19 still lingering, who wants to be reminded of it yet again? The Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) next concert will do so with a musical touch aimed to inspire through the hard times.

A new work from local composer Dr. A.K. Jaquith, “Light on the Horizon” will address the emergence from the pandemic when it makes its world premiere at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

This show was previously announced by the SSO as “A Serenade of Movement.” SSO leadership discussed what to do in light of the spread of Omicron, if the concert should go forward as the soloist had to cancel for non-COVID reasons, but they chose to forge ahead as conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson had a plan.

“Since no other soloist in the entire world offers that piece that we helped commission, I opted to take that opportunity to reimage the entire program. The other soloist offered us the Elgar ‘Cello Concerto,’ a piece that I had hoped to share here,” he said. “I wanted to leave the Jaquith premiere in place. It is a response to the pandemic and is full of hope, overcoming adversity, and positive energy, and perfect for what we all need at the moment.”

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Jaquith is a Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Cedarville University, who recently worked with the SSO Youth Symphony, performing his piece “Isolated Incident” at their fall concert.

“It is my hope that this composition provides a means for optimism and encourages us all to consider the question ‘what is the foundation of our expectation for a better future,’” Jaquith said of the piece.

Elgar’s “Cello Concerto” will be led by guest cellist Jolyon Pegis. It was composed in the aftermath of World War I and differs from “Light on the Horizon.”

Rounding out the show will be “The Moldau” by Bedrich Smetana, inspired by the longest river in the Czech Republic. The program notes describe the piece as “time and circumstance ebb and flow much like nature itself, and gives us hope in a brighter future,” which echoes the Jaquith piece.

“I elected to add the Smetana ‘Moldau’ as it is a familiar piece and a favorite to many of us,” Wilson said.

He also said this repertoire lends itself to cycling substitute musicians into the mix with four cancellations and a fifth in quarantine but hoping to join by the concert. But Wilson kept his good humor about the situation.

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“The things they did not teach me in conducting school,” said Wilson.

This show will go without an intermission to minimize audience exposure.

Jaquith will speak about creating “Light on the Horizon” during the pre-show concert talk in the Performing Arts Center’s Turner Studio Theater at 6:45 p.m.

Clark State requires masks be worn by audience members in the PAC to attend this performance. Distance seating will be available.

HOW TO GO

What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra – “Light on the Horizon”

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29

Admission: $40.40-$66

More info: 937-328-3874 or go to www.springfieldartscouncil.org/.

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