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Symphony Week 2023: Derrick Parker, James Lowe

Spokane Symphony Music Director James Lowe and bass-baritone Derrick Parker (L–R) in the SPR lobby
Savanna Rothe
Spokane Public Radio
Spokane Symphony Music Director James Lowe and bass-baritone Derrick Parker (L–R) in the SPR lobby

Spokane Symphony's guest bass-baritone and music director detail the season opener

In the finale to this year's Symphony Week on Spokane Public Radio, music director James Lowe and bass-baritone Derrick Parker joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio to preview this weekend's season-opening Masterworks concert.

This concert, themed "A Place Called Home," features a program of works by Bedřich Smetana ("The Moldau" from his symphonic poem Má vlast), Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate (Chokfi’), Aaron Copland (the first set of his Old American Songs), William Harvey (his arrangement of the traditional Salish hymn "Chaconne on č̓ ʔanwí") and Antonín Dvořák (his Ninth Symphony, nicknamed "From the New World").

Lowe explained how the works relate to one another—both musically and thematically—as well as to Spokane.

Parker discussed his portion of the performance, which includes historic American folk songs that were later arranged by Aaron Copland. Parker gave some insight into the stories they tell as he himself imagines them. Another local singer, Sulustu (Barry Moses), will be taking part in the program for "Chaconne on č̓ ʔanwí."

After a brief sample of a recording of Parker singing the "Tuba Mirum" from Mozart's Requiem, he and Lowe talked about Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 and the way it was influenced by baritone Henry ("Harry") Thacker Burleigh. The symphony incorporates elements of Czech folk music and African-American spirituals.

There are two performance of Masterworks #1: "A Place Called Home"— the first on Saturday, Sept. 16; the second on Sunday, Sept. 17. Both are at the Fox Theater. For tickets and more information, visit the Fox Theater's website.

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