An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

From the Studio: The Symphony's Masterworks 6

Mateusz Wolski and James Lowe (L–R) in the SPR performance space
Savanna Rothe
Spokane Public Radio
Mateusz Wolski and James Lowe (L–R) in the SPR performance space

James Lowe and Mateusz Wolski take a deep dive into a program of works by American composers

Brimming with food metaphors and car-racing analogies, Spokane Symphony Music Director James Lowe and Concertmaster Mateusz Wokski joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio to talk about this weekend's Masterworks concert.

Masterworks 6: Made in America features music from 
composers Sydney Guillaume, Samuel Barber, George Frederick McKay and William Grant Still.

The Guillaume piece is a brand-new choral work that was commissioned by the Spokane Symphony, Eastern Washington University as well as Ron and Sue Runyon. The orchestra will perform it alongside the Spokane Symphony Chorale and the EWU Symphonic Choir.

For this concert, Wolski will be stepping out of his orchestral seat and into the spotlight to perform Barber's Violin Concerto, Op. 14. He took time during the interview to demonstrate why the work is so challenging for both the soloist and the orchestra.

Also on the program is From a Moonlit Ceremony by Spokane-born composer George Frederick McKay (1899–1970). The work was inspired by a Native American spiritual celebration, and that inspiration suffuses its musical themes.

The finale is the First Symphony by William Grant Still, whose Wood Notes was performed by the symphony just last year. Still's work, also known as his "Afro-American Symphony," combines blues, jazz and African-American folk music.

There are two performances of Masterworks 6: Made in America: the first on Saturday, February 4 and the second on Sunday, February 5.

Tickets and more info are available at the newly combined Fox Theater/Spokane Symphony website.

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director