The Gorge Sinfonietta’s Wind and Wire Concerts appear to be typical orchestral performances but Artistic Director/Conductor Mark Steighner says the concerts are anything but run-of-the-mill. “For one thing, we have a Rhapsody for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra, played by Dr Erik Steighner, and there are very few concert pieces for that instrument. Second, we are giving what might be the first local performances of a very colorful tone poem by Alan Hovhaness, called Floating World.” Hovhaness was an Armenian-American composer who lived many decades near Seattle and whose music is characterized by the use of avant garde playing techniques and exotic accents.
Finally, the concert concludes with the Frankensymphony: A Musical Abomination, which grafts together movements from symphonies by Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms. Steighner explains that “Brahms and Bruckner were musical adversaries in 19th century Vienna, and in addition to providing lots of gossip for the social media of the day, it seriously and negatively impacted the livelihood of Bruckner, who couldn’t get his music performed due to his association with Richard Wagner.” By combining movements from the composers’ symphonies (both in the key of Bb and written around the same time) audiences will have a chance to directly compare the musical styles of both composers.
Steighner has written a short, two person play based on the one, actual meeting between Brahms and Bruckner and it will be performed by Tom Burns and Richard Whithers as a sort of introduction to the music.
Soloist for the concerts is Dr Erik Steighner, a 1999 graduate of HRVHS. Steighner received graduate degrees in saxophone performance from the University of Texas at Austin and for the past eleven years has been teaching at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. In addition to teaching, Steighner gives frequent solo recitals and performs several orchestras and other ensembles in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Dr. Steighner last performed with the Sinfonietta in 2013. He will be performing the Rhapsody for Baritone Saxophone by Mark Watters. Watters is well known and respected composer for film and television.
Performances: February 28 @ 7:30PM,, March 1 @ 2:00PM