DuPage Symphony Orchestra's 'Reflections' concert on March 19 to explore 'The American Scene'

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards," said Danish writer Søren Kierkegaard. Only time can show why things happen and what stands behind them, but in any case we have to move forward with our lives and do what has to be done.

For the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, it means to keep presenting live performances for its audience and keep transforming hearts, minds, and communities through music. The orchestra's next concert, called "Reflections," will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

Founded in 1954, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra consists of volunteer musicians. They come from more than 30 communities in and around DuPage County and all walks of life. As the concert program mentions in its description of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra musicians, "there are doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, engineers, consultants ... even a judge, a policeman, a minister, and a professional ice skater! It is their love of music, which most have studied from a young age, that brings them together to rehearse and perform for you. Their talent and dedication are extraordinary!"

Maestra Barbara Schubert joined the DuPage Symphony Orchestra in 1986. Her dynamic leadership, dedication to music and extreme mastership inspire both the musicians and the audience members. In 2013, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra was named Community Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, which became possible thanks to the hard work of both the musicians and the Maestra.

The "Reflections" concert program will start with a composition called "The American Scene," written by William Grant Still. Called "the dean of African-American composers" and one of America's most versatile musicians, Still was a highly regarded composer in the first half of the 20th century. As Gary A. Greene, Ph.D. wrote in concert notes, "he was a prolific composer: five symphonies, six operas, chamber works, art songs and folk song arrangements, and solo keyboard works give clues to the breadth of his interests as well as the size of his worklist."

Still published five suites for orchestra under the collective title "The American Scene" in 1957. The DuPage Symphony Orchestra will perform Suite 5, which is called "A Mountain, A Memorial, and A Song," although some refer to it as "The American Southwest." It happens because the first four have geographic designations: "The East," "The South," "The Old West," and "The Far West."

The three movements of Suite 5 are called "Grand Teton: A Symbol of America's Strength," "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: 'Our Boys' Will Never Be Forgotten," and "Song of the Rivermen: They Sing of the Mississippi."

Still's characteristically lyrical and distinctly American style will be masterfully demonstrated by the DuPage Symphony Orchestra.

This composition will be followed by Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 107 written by Dmitri Shostakovich. It will feature William Tan, violoncello, who is the first-place winner of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra 2022 Young Artists Auditions. Concerto No. 1 is a complicated piece not only technically, but also emotionally. It is among the most difficult works for the instrument. However nothing is impossible for such a talented musician as Tan, and together with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra this young prodigy will demonstrate the composer's deep musical thoughts and emotional extremes expressed by using such musical techniques as multiple stopping, pizzicato, and the change of rhythm, tempo and harmonics.

After intermission the audience will have a chance to explore the music created by contemporary composer Michael Udow.

Udow is a percussionist, a music teacher, and a composer. He composed two operas ("The Shattered Mirror" and "Twelve Years a Slave"), orchestral works, film scores, and chamber music including works for solo instruments. The composer's "The Shattered Mirror Suite" demonstrates a captivating musical reflection on global mythology that is based on the writings of Joseph Campbell's work, "The Meaning of Myth," which serves as the basis of the work.

"The impetus for the opera 'The Shattered Mirror' explores a universal theme: a protagonist character, Sun, is implored by the Four Grandfathers of the First Nation Peoples to search for the meaning of life," wrote Udow. "Moon, a wizard, with the elusive character, Wind, and the chorus of All Living Creatures aid Sun during his quest, which successfully ends with Sun, Moon, and Wind ultimately ascending to the mountaintop soaring above it like the Wild Hawk."

The concert program will conclude with Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien, Op. 45. This composition demonstrates the composer's reflections of his stay in Italy where he traveled to refresh his mind and to find peace, comfort and new impressions. This famous piece will please the ear with popular Italian melodies used by the composer and will fill up Wentz concert hall with Italian temperament and passion.

Such a mosaic of various emotions, musical genres, approaches and techniques will make this concert program unforgettable. Even if we go through difficult times, we should let our life demonstrate to us its bright sides, and one of them is music. As Indian author Khushwant Singh said, "when the world is itself draped in the mantle of night, the mirror of the mind is like the sky in which thoughts twinkle like stars."

Let's reflect on the music that the DuPage Symphony Orchestra will present to us, and let's stay spiritually strong and joyful, with the help of music.

Tickets start at $38. For tickets, go to or call (630) 637-SHOW.

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