Copland’s Appalachian Spring: UMD Symphony Orchestra - IN PERSON
The UMD Symphony Orchestra makes a joyous return to the stage to perform the full orchestral suite of American composer Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Created for modern dancer Martha Graham, the original ballet version premiered at the Library of Congress in 1944. Copland then rearranged the work for full orchestra the following year. Appalachian Spring is beloved for its American folk melodies and dancing songs, most notably the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts."
Continuing the American theme, the orchestra will be joined by the School of Music’s Graduate String Fellowship Ensemble, Thalea String Quartet, to perform Banner by Jessie Montgomery. Written as a 200th anniversary tribute to “The Star Spangled Banner,” Montgomery used historical sources and patriotic songs to create an anthem fitting for the 21st century’s multicultural environment.
The concert will also include Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to Nabucco and Joseph Bologne’s Symphony No. 1 in G Major.
Jessie Montgomery: Banner for string quartet and string orchestra
Joseph Bologne: Symphony No. 1 in G
Giuseppe Verdi: Overture to Nabucco
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring (full orchestra version)
About the UMD Symphony Orchestra (UMSO):
Through its committed and polished performances under the baton of David Neely, UMSO is dedicated to the power of musical communication. In its repertoire, the orchestra explores the intersection between traditional symphonic masterworks and marginalized works from various eras, with many programs featuring composers of diverse backgrounds.
Health + Safety
There may be COVID safety policies such as mask requirements in place when you attend this event. Please see our health & safety page for the most up to date information about attendance!
Banner for String Quartet and String Orchestra Jessie Montgomery
Christopher Whitley, violin
Kumiko Sakamoto, violin
Lauren Spaulding, viola
Titilayo Ayangade, cello
Symphony No. 1 in G, Op. 11 Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Overture to Nabucco Giuseppe Verdi
Appalachian Spring Orchestral Suite Aaron Copland
Recently described by Opera News as "a ninja warrior with a baton" for his performance of Berg's Wozzeck, Neely maintains an active career in concert, opera and higher education. Previously serving on the conducting faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the University of Kansas and the University of Texas, Neely was named Kansas Artist-Educator of the Year for 2016–17 by the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs. He is currently the director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland School of Music.
As music director and principal conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO), a post he has held since 2012, Neely continues to elevate the company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a wide range of repertoire such as Queen of Spades, Turandot, Billy Budd, Manon, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West, Rusalka and Flight. His performances have been praised in publications such as Opera News, Opera Today and the Chicago Tribune. Neely’s televised Manon and Billy Budd, produced by Iowa Public Television for DMMO, were awarded Emmys by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Next summer, he will conduct the world premiere of Kristin Kuster and Mark Campbell’s A Thousand Acres, based on Jane Smiley’s 1991 Pulitzer-winning novel.
Neely is equally at home in concert, opera, musical theater and ballet settings. He has appeared as conductor with numerous orchestras, including the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker and the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg. He has led productions with Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Bonn Opera, Halle Opera, Dortmund Opera, Saarland State Opera, St. Gallen Opera and the Eutiner Festspiele, among others. He was associate music director of Chicago for the Munich and Basel runs of the current Broadway production. He has collaborated with such instrumentalists as Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillippe Cuper, Ben Lulich and Ricardo Morales, in addition to countless singers of note, including Joyce Castle, John Holiday, John Osborne and David Adam Moore. Neely conducted the German premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie, the North American premiere of David Dzubay’s Sijo for Orchestra, Robert Orledge's reconstruction of Debussy's The Fall of the House of Usher as well as world premieres of Arthur Gottschalk's Four New Brothers, Billy Childs' Concerto for Horn and Strings, Alexandre Rydin's Clarinet Concerto and, at the University of Maryland School of Music, Maria Newman’s Our Rights and Nothing Less in celebration of the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, with Carmen Balthrop as narrator. He was recently music director of three new operas with Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center and of a new opera for American Lyric Theater in New York.
GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP ENSEMBLE: THALEA STRING QUARTET
The Thalea String Quartet is the Graduate String Fellowship Quartet at the University of Maryland School of Music. The group brings their signature vibrancy and emotional commitment to dynamic performances that reflect the past, present and future of the string quartet repertoire while celebrating diverse musical traditions from around the world. Fueled by the belief that chamber music is a powerful force for building community and human connection, the Thalea String Quartet has performed across North America, Europe and China, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Massey Hall and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. They have shared the stage with luminaries of the chamber music world, including members of the Emerson, Borromeo and St. Lawrence String Quartets, and they have performed alongside celebrated artists including Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, violist Lawrence Power, acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD and visionary hip-hop artist Jay Electronica.
Committed to shaping and contributing to the future of the string quartet repertoire, the Thalea String Quartet has premiered dozens of new works and has collaborated on new commissions with composers including Paola Prestini, Anthony R. Green, Akshaya Avril Tucker and Tanner Porter.
Winners of the 2021 Ann Divine Educator Award from the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the members of the Thalea String Quartet have been celebrated for their innovative approach to education and community engagement. Pioneers of virtual educational programming, the Thalea String Quartet has developed a variety of digital content, including two digital video series for students of all ages and for the CHAMPS Virtual Chamber Music Seminar, which brought together students from across North America for an eight-week intensive study of the music of Florence B. Price, Joseph Haydn and Antonín Dvořák. The members of the Thalea String Quartet have presented masterclasses and workshops at institutions across North America, including the Berklee College of Music, the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and San Francisco State University. They have presented lectures and led discussions at institutions including the University of Maryland, Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and Wayne State Medical School in Detroit, where they presented a workshop on non-verbal communication to first-year medical students alongside the Emerson String Quartet.
In addition to their current graduate fellowship at the University of Maryland, the quartet has also held fellowship positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the San Francisco Conservatory. They served as associated artists at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, Belgium, for the 2019–20 season and they were the 2019–20 Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. They were top prize winners at the 2018 Fischoff Competition and 2018 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition.
Canadian violinist Whitley is an engaging and versatile performer. From Baroque to electronic music, Whitley is committed to exploring and performing music of all styles. He is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland School of Music and a member of the Thalea String Quartet.
Whitley has performed on period instruments at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. An avid proponent of contemporary music, Whitley has performed as a member of NOVUS NY and has appeared as both concertmaster and soloist of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is a regular guest of San Francisco jazz group Le Jazz Hot, performing music inspired by Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. As a composer, Whitley’s primary focus is on expanding the potential of the solo violin, incorporating technology, electronic music and interactive visual art. Blending classical music, popular music and a variety of improvised styles, he has performed across the United States and Canada, including at the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon in New York. He has been invited to create new works at residencies at the Banff Centre and at the Britten Pears Young Artist Program in Aldeburgh, UK.
Whitley received his Bachelor of Music at McGill University studying with Mark Fewer and continued his studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Ian Swensen. Christopher is a dedicated pedagogue and, until recently moving to Austin, maintained a full private studio in San Francisco.
Christopher performs on the 1700 “Taft” Stradivari, generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. In his spare time, he can be found at record stores, libraries and coffee shops and does whatever he can to get into a canoe.
Born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Sakamoto is a devoted performer, chamber musician and pedagogue. Her commitment to fostering human connection through art has led Sakamoto to pursue a richly diverse career as a violinist, vocalist and advocate. She is dedicated to sharing the power of music with audiences around the world.
In addition to being a founding member of the Thalea String Quartet, Sakamoto is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland School of Music and an award-winning solo artist. She has performed across France, Italy and Poland, including performances at La Fenice in Venice and St. Sulpice in Paris. Her debut album, featuring the first recordings of the works of composer Gino Gorini, was released under the Tactus (Naxos) label in 2015.
Sakamoto’s love for musical theater, art song and choral music led her to pursue conservatory training as a coloratura soprano. During her time in San Francisco, she was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.
As an educator, Sakamoto is committed to fostering creativity, health and well-being amongst musicians of all ages. She has developed a variety of unique educational projects, including virtual teaching residencies, and a strings program for young people with special sensory needs. She also has facilitated strings programs for students in underserved communities in San Francisco while maintaining an active private studio for beginner, advanced and adult students.
A dancer for most of her life, Sakamoto still enjoys attending ballet classes in her spare time, as well as cooking healthy meals and baking for her friends and family. She is a dedicated advocate for social justice, health and food awareness.
Under the alias of @MonochromeViola, Spaulding has established herself as a rising genre-defying soloist and chamber musician through her “anonymous practice blog” on Instagram. Spaulding, a Texas native, studied under the tutelage of Peter Slowik at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has also worked with Geraldine Walther of the Takács Quartet, Roger Tapping of the Juilliard String Quartet and soloist Nobuko Imai.
In addition to being a doctoral student at the University of Maryland School of Music and her role as violist of the Thalea String Quartet, Spaulding is a member of Meredith Monk’s contemporary performance ensemble and a regular with the Colorado Symphony. She is also an award-winning studio recording artist and serves as the principal violist and festival artist of the Colorado MahlerFest. Spaulding is the co-founder of the Tallā Rouge Viola Duo with fellow violist Aria Cheregosha. The Cajun and Persian viola duo inspires composers from around the world to explore the virtuosity and beauty of the unusual instrument pairing across genres. In the summer of 2021, Spaulding attended Yellow Barn as a featured festival artist and placed as a finalist for the International Music Grand Prix competition held at Carnegie Hall.
Holding the belief that “good music is good music,” Spaulding uses her love for genre-bending performance to question the societal perception of classical music and to advocate for composers of all genders, identities, ethnicities and backgrounds. Having struggled with learning disabilities and gender identity in her youth, Spaulding holds a special passion for inspiring young neuro-atypical and LGBTQ+ musicians to pursue the arts. Additionally, Spaulding works with fellow violist Kim Kashkashian and her Boston team as a co-chapter head for “Music for Food,” an initiative battling food insecurity by creating meals from music. In 2012, Spaulding was invited to perform at the White House for President Obama for her social advocacy through music as a “Champion of Change.”
Spaulding has performed chamber music alongside Don Weilerstein, Carolin Widmann, Lawerence Lesser and Jorja Fleezanis. She has also performed with members of the Cavani Quartet, Orpheus, Imani Winds, the Brentano Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, the Rolston Quartet, the Takács Quartet and the Pro Arte Quartet, as well as members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Ballet, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the English Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Cellist Titilayo Ayangade has spent over two decades behind the instrument, enjoying performances in orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as commissioning new music. Holding degrees in performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the University of Texas at Austin, Ayangade currently resides near Washington, D.C., and is pursuing a D.M.A. at the University of Maryland as part of the School of Music’s graduate string fellowship ensemble, the Thalea String Quartet.
Ayangade is passionate about forging new paths in both music making and in entrepreneurship. Starting this fall, she is an artist-in-residence at Strathmore, collaborating with visual artists and dancers as well as other innovative musicians. As a member of the newly founded “duo kayo” alongside violist Edwin Kaplan, Ayangade is actively commissioning and premiering new works for the uncommon instrument pairing.
Ayangade has collaborated with many different artists including Isabel Charisius, Yo-Yo Ma, Lawrence Power, Robert DeMaine, James Austin Smith and Sibbi Bernhardson. She has also received mentorship from members of The Left Bank Quartet, Miro Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Artemis Quartet and Ariel Quartet. Her principal cello teachers over the years were Ilya Finkelshteyn, Joshua Gindele and UMD’s own Eric Kutz. In recent years, Ayangade has had the privilege of touring China, Brazil, Canada and Belgium, as well as many cities in North America.
Inspired by and dedicated to the work and artistry of musicians of color, Ayangade is constantly seeking new collaborations and ways to spotlight the voices in music that often go unheard. Away from the cello, Ayangade spends her time searching for vintage furniture and enjoys her work as a portrait photographer
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Charrine Liu-Maddox, Concertmaster (Montgomery)
Emily Konkle, Concertmaster (Bologne)
Tong Li, Concertmaster (Verdi)
Anna Luebke, Concertmaster (Copland)
John Park, Principal 2nd (Montgomery)
Abby Wuehler, Principal 2nd (Bologne)
Leah Mitchell, Principal 2nd (Verdi)
Yuna Kim, Principal 2nd (Copland)
Amirhoussein Norouz Nasseri
Chi Lee, Principal (Montogmery, Verdi)
Tonya Burton, Principal (Bologne, Copland)
Syneva Colle, Principal (Montgomery, Copland)
Wesley Hornpetrie, Principal (Bologne, Verdi)
Chad Rogers, Principal (Montgomery, Verdi)
Omar Martinez Sandoval, Principal (Bologne)
Daphine Henderson, Principal (Copland)