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'Jupiter' and Juneau's twinkling stars

Musicians of all ages will perform at the Juneau Student Symphony's Space Concert on Sunday

Posted: March 7, 2013 - 1:00am
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Robert Newman is the violin soloist as Rick Trostel conducts the Juneau Student Symphony during rehearsal at Glacier Valley Elelmentary School on Monday as they ready for the Space Concert on March 10 at the school.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Robert Newman is the violin soloist as Rick Trostel conducts the Juneau Student Symphony during rehearsal at Glacier Valley Elelmentary School on Monday as they ready for the Space Concert on March 10 at the school.

The Juneau Student Symphony, led by Conductor Rick Trostel, will perform their Space Concert one time only, on Sunday March 10, at Glacier Valley School. The concert begins at 4:30 p.m. and is pay-as-you-can.

Among the works on the program is Shinichi Suzuki’s “Twinkle Variations,” featuring the violin work of young musicians from Glacier Valley Elementary School’s JAMM program, and students of Lisa Miles and Guo Xia. Based on the well-known theme of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and built on piano variations written centuries earlier by Mozart, the music was adapted by Suzuki for beginning violinists and solo piano. Here, conductor Trostel has taken Suzuki’s variations and expanded the solo piano part to include music for a full orchestra. Trostel’s work includes eight variations for the piece: stellar variation, two percussion variations, a rude woodwind variation, Mom and Dad variation (based on a scale from a twelve-tone piece), five-pointed star variation (based on “Take Five”), harmonic variation, mouthpiece variation, and a fugue.

The program also features a violin solo by Robert Newman, the winner of last year’s Juneau Symphony Youth Solo Competition. Newman, a sophomore at JDHS, has been playing violin for 12 years, as a student of Lisa Miles. He will be featured on “Violin Concerto No. 1 (movement 3)” by Philip Glass.

Though the JSS Space Concert highlights the work of these young musicians, the orchestra is made up of musicians of all ages. Founded in the 1980s by school strings teacher Fred Mayer, it was expanded by Julia Bastuscheck, with help from the University of Alaska Southeast and Linda Rosenthal. When Trostel took over direction of the group from Patrick Murphy, he changed the focus of the orchestra from a youth group to one that was also open to adult beginners. The orchestra usually performs three or four times a season.

Also featured on Sunday’s program is Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” the beginning of which is famous for its inclusion in the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey;” Johann Strauss’ “The Blue Danube Waltzes,” also featured in the movie; Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter,” from “The Planets” suite; and Thomas Reiner’s “Hope” from “The Alaska Sinfonietta,” which closes every JSS concert. Reinfer’s “Alaska Sinfonietta,” commissioned by the JSS in 2008, was inspired in part by a Tlingit mourning song, “Ch’a aadei yei unateegaa,” composed in 1912 by Joe Wright, Aanti Yéili. The lyrics of the piece feature poetry by Nora and Richard Dauenhauer, and will be sung by Alaska’s Kit.

In July, the JSS will perform at the opening ceremonies of the quadrennial International Montessori Congress in Portland, Ore. That program, which includes “The Life of the Child” and “The Alaska Sinfonietta,” will also be performed in Juneau on Friday, July 26, at the Concert in the Park series.

For more, visit juneausymphony.org/studentsymphony.

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