American Composer Russell Peck
Russell Peck was an American composer born in Detroit, Michigan in 1945. His work, The Thrill of the Orchestra, was created for both young and adult audiences as an educational instrument demonstration. Peck also wrote the accompanying narration and enjoyed playing the part of the narrator at performances. The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will include The Thrill of the Orchestra within its EDUCATION concert on March 21, 2023. This event will take place in Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange, GA at 7:30 PM. GET TICKETS HERE
Mr. Peck’s musical career began early in his high school years and continued throughout his lifetime. Many of his compositions have been performed by major orchestras all over the world. He was still actively contributing to the music world in his later years. Russell died at the age of 64. In the mid 1980’s he wrote one of his best known works Signs of Life II for string orchestra. It is a beautiful piece that is engaging, inventive and melodic. Perhaps the LSO can bring this piece to you in the future. (Titles link to samples of Russell Peck’s work. Check them out.)
In 2000, he was commissioned to write a timpani concerto, which is titled Harmonic Rhythm. It is a brilliant and full study, with dramatic elements. It highlights the instrument’s melodic as well as it’s dynamic qualities. Harmonic Rhythm has also been performed widely. Russel Peck’s ability to write for percussive instruments was evident in that piece and continued in The Glory and the Grandeur. If you get a chance, check out his triple percussion concerto, The Glory and the Grandeur at this link.
Mr. Peck received many honors throughout his life. They include the Koussevitsky Prize, two Ford Foundation Fellowships, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and several states’ arts councils. He received ASCAP awards, and commissions from major symphony orchestras. Artist residencies included the Gaudeamus Contemporary Music Festival in the Netherlands and a two year appointment as composer-in-residence for the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Symphony. Mr. Peck also served on the faculty of Northern Illinois University, Eastman School of Music, and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
The EDUCATION concert
The Thrill of the Orchestra by Russell Peck is part of a larger program that the LSO performs for over 2,400 area third-graders annually. Many of these children have never been in an orchestra setting. This introduces them to a whole new world of music. The concerts are done as field trip outings to Callaway Auditorium in February of each year and are free for area students.
The repertoire from this program will be performed within the March 21st evening concert, which includes themes from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, works by Edvard Grieg, Leroy Anderson, and John Phillip Sousa!
Guest host, Carol Cain will narrate this section of the concert that includes Russell Peck’s The Thrill of the Orchestra.
Ms. Cain is a renowned storyteller, actress, and educator who is an active member of the arts community of LaGrange and Troup County. For nearly 30 years, Cain has performed her original stories and her one-woman show as Rosie the Riveter at festivals, libraries, museums, churches, and schools throughout Georgia and the Southeast. Since 2004, Cain has been the emcee of the Azalea Storytelling Festival in LaGrange and currently serves as artistic director of the festival. She was also a featured teller for the 2015 and 2022 festivals. In October 2016, she performed in the Exchange Place concert at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN.
Cain has been the emcee of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s Educational Concert since 2006 and has also narrated and performed with the Lafayette Ballet Company. An active member of the Lafayette Theatre Company and its advisory board, Cain enjoys both acting and directing. She currently teaches Creative Dramatics for the Lafayette Theatre Academy.
In 2015, Cain retired after 30 years of teaching language arts and theatre in the Troup County School System where she was named the 2000 Troup County Teacher of the Year and became a top-five finalist for the 2001 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Earlier, in 2013, she was named the High School Teacher of the Year for Troup County. In her “retirement,” Cain enjoys her work as a docent for the biblical History Center and as an instructor for the West Point Lake Floating Classroom.
The EDUCATION concert also includes the annual “side-by-side” which is a mentoring experience for the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra. These students study, rehearse, and perform in a professional setting beside a professional musician. The first three pieces of the evening will be performed by the combined LSYO and LSO orchestras. These LSYO students are high school age or younger, and are sure to amaze you with their ability.
This concert also features guest artist, Lindsey Welp! Lindsey is the first place winner of the 2021/22 Young Artists Competition for wind instruments. She will perform Jeanine Rueff’s Concertino for alto saxophone.
She is currently a member of the award-winning saxophone quartet, Mixed Media. This group received the Gold Medal in both the 2022 Coltman Chamber Music Competition and the 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
What a great (and FULL) night of entertainment for everyone in the family! Tuesday March 21st, 2023 at 7:30 PM in Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange, GA.
[…] LSYO News March 17, 2023 […]
[…] The Thrill of the Orchestra by Russell Peck explains the sections of the orchestra. This is a fun and lively composition where the musicians show their instruments at coinciding sections of the narration, all backed with music. Check the photos to get an idea of what this was like. It is really a great piece of writing. You can read more about Russell Peck in our blog post HERE. […]
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