Music: Dr. Averbach and Plans

Dr. Ricardo Averbach, who joined the Penn music department in the summer of 1995 as conductor of the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, presented last week a list of priorities and the progress made toward them during his first year.

The Brazilian-born Dr. Averbach is a 1979 graduate of the Escuela Politechnica de Universidade de Sao Paulo who took an advanced degree in conducting in 1988 the Bulgaria National Academy of Music, and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan in 1995. A guest conductor in Brazil, Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria, he was conductor of Michigan's Campus Symphony Orchestra, 1991-94, and conducted a number of opera productions there and in Bulgaria. He came to Penn from Baltimore where he was music director of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestras-Philharmonic, 1994-95.

With guest performances of his own scheduled for 1997 in Bulgaria and Portugal, he set as one of his goals to increase the visibility of Penn's ensembles abroad as well as on campus, in the city and in the nation. In detail, this included the creation of new exchanges and guest performances, an increase in the number of performances, and increased recruiting for the ensembles.

As the Orchestra prepares to open its 1996 season (November 16 with an 8 p.m. concert at the Cathedral Church of the Savior, 38th and Chestnut Streets), this is an update on some of the goals.

Guests: Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra were lined up to coach sectional rehearsals starting this year, and the new concertmaster, Erez Ofer, is scheduled to appear as a soloist with the campus orchestra at a performance to be announced. Pianist Emma Tahmizian, a laureate in the Van Cliburn Competition, performed the group last year. The winner of Penn's own new Concerto Competition is to appear in the 1996-97 series of the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

Exchanges and Expansions: As the start of a series of performance exchanges, the Yale Concert Band will perform with the Penn Wind Ensemble at Penn on April 5, 1997, and Penn's Wind Ensemble will go to New Haven a week later to repeat the joint concerteach school performing work of its own composers, then combining for the world premiere of a work by Penn's Jay Reise. Professional taping of these performances is the start of a recording program which will create CDs featuring the music George Crumb, Richard Wernick, James Primosch, Gerald Levinson and others. (As part of the targeted expansion, theWind Ensemble nearly doubled its membership in 1996, and with 70 members it now performs as a Symphonic Band.)

Arrangements are currently being made for the orchestra from the Universite Technologie de Compiegne to perform here in February 1997, and for the University Orchestra to travel to France. The University Orchestra's first annual Valentine's Day Concert is scheduled for February 14, 1997, in Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center.


Volume 43 Number 10
October 29, 1996

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