The Cal Poly Symphony works with professional guest artists, composers, other ensembles and artists in other fields who add their creative energy to our concerts and raise the bar for our students. Read on, or click the links above to explore specific areas of collaboration.
We have been fortunate to welcome outstanding professional guest artists to Cal Poly, to work with them in our rehearsal process and to make music together on the stage of the Performing Arts Center.
Robert Thies joined us in the Spring of 2011 to play Gershwin's jazzy Concerto in F, to play a duo piano recital with W. Terrence Spiller, and to teach private students in the Music Department. The Gold Medal winner of the International Prokofiev Competition in Russia, Robert has been called "a pianist of unerring warm-toned refinement, revealing judicious glimmers of power" by the Los Angeles Times.
W. Terrence (Terry) Spiller has performed with the Symphony three times: he played Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in the Fall of 2008, Grieg's Piano Concerto in 2011-2012, both at home and on our tour to Washington D.C., and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1 in the Fall of 2016. A prize winner of international competitions, Terry has been praised as "inspired...a musical powerhouse."
Tianshu Wang visited Cal Poly to perform the Yellow River Concertowith the Symphony and to take part in Cal Poly's "World Across the University: China in the 1930s and '40s" in Spring, 2009. A winner of many competitions, she has performed in the United States, China, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, and has played with major orchestras in China and the US.
In the Fall of 2014, the Symphony was joined by soprano Ciera Lamborn and tenor Christopher Campbell. In addition to presenting solo arias, our guest artists joined forces - as Mimì and Rodolfo - for a concert performance of the first act of La Bohème, from the moment when the two lovers meet.
Mezzo-soprano Jacalyn Kreitzer performed Elgar's Sea Pictures with the Symphony in the Spring of 2006. She has sung with such companies as Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Théâtre du Châtelet, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Chicago Lyric, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera and others.
Many vocalists have performed solos with the Cal Poly Symphony and Choirs in the context of larger works. Baritone Ben Kazez joined us for Fauré's Requiem (Spring 2016) and baritone Paul Max Tipton sang solos in Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem (Spring 2012). Our Spring 2008 performance of Orff's Carmina Burana included solos by tenor Jonathan Mack, baritone Emil Dorian Cristescu and soprano Mary Sue Gee.
Flutist Suzanne Duffy joined the Symphony in Spring, 2015 to perform Charles Griffes Poem for Flute and Orchestra. Currently principal flute for Symphony of the Vines and second flute/piccolo for Opera Santa Barbara, she has performed with Opera San Luis Obispo, the Palm Beach Opera, Santa Barbara Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, and the New World and Indianapolis Symphonies, among others.
Violinist Brynn Albanese has performed with the Symphony three times. She played Chausson's Poème for Violin and Orchestra in Fall, 2006, J. S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins (with Paul Severtson) in Fall, 2010, and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending in Fall, 2013. Currently concertmaster of Symphony of the Vines and Opera SLO, Brynn has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic and orchestras in the Netherlands.
Violinist Paul Severtson played J. S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins (with Brynn Albanese) in Fall, 2010. He has played in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival/Festival Mozaic Orchestra and is currently the co-Concertmaster of the San Luis Obispo Symphony. Paul is an active chamber musician, has played in rock bands, and plays the Hardanger Fiddle, a Norwegian folk instrument.
The Amelia Piano Trio visited Cal Poly in the Fall of 2007 to present the West Coast premiere of Daron Hagen's Orpheus and Eurydice: Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra. While here, they also presented a chamber music master class with student ensembles. The trio has performed in Carnegie Hall, Ravinia in Chicago, Seattle’s Meany Hall, the Library of Congress in Washington DC. and at the Caramoor Music Festival in NY, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, NPR’s St Paul Sunday Radio, Calgary Pro Musica, Merkin Hall, and Barge Music. (web site)
Meredith Brammeier composed "Blow, Winds, Rage, Blow!" for the Cal Poly Symphony and Choirs. It was premiered in Spring, 2016 and was performed on our Central Europe tour in June, 2016. Dr. Brammeier’s piece for women’s chorus entitled “Ocean Country” won the 2002 California ACDA’s Choral Composition Competition and her compositions have been premiered by groups in the US and Canada. (full bio)
Antonio (Greg) Barata composed "Great Wings" for the Cal Poly Symphony, which gave the premiere in Fall, 2015. Greg is an active composer in both traditional genres and electroacoustic music, and is chairman of the California State University Music Academic Discipline Council. Two of his recent compositions have been released on a compact disk entitled "American Cantata."
Daren Hagen was commissioned by the Amelia Piano Trio to write a new work for performance in 2007. With the Trio, the Cal Poly Symphony gave the West Coast premiere of his Orpheus and Eurydice: Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra in the Fall of that year. Daron is one of America's most prominent, prolific, and respected composers. All of his major operas are currently in production or revival in the U.S., Europe, or Asia. His orchestral, chamber, and vocal works are programmed internationally. (web site)
The Cal Poly Symphony exists in an environment rich in student performances and student ensembles. We perform a joint concert every other year with the Cal Poly Choirs and have undertaken joint performances with Orchesis, Cal Poly's oldest concert dance organization. The Symphony continues to seek out new opportunities for collaboration within the university and beyond its borders.
The Symphony has performed regularly with the Cal Poly Choirs for at least a decade. The full ensembles have given concerts featuring a wide range of choral-orchestral repertoire, including Brahms' Schicksalslied ("Song of Destiny"), John Williams' Battle of the Heroes, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Concert Suite No. 2 from West Side Story, Orff's Carmina Burana and Brahms' Rhapsody for Alto, Male Chorus and Orchestra (Jacalyn Kreitzer, alto). (web site)
Select members from the two ensembles also perform together in an annual "Bach in the Mission" concert, the culminating event of Cal Poly's Bach Week. Look out for more joint ventures to come!
Our first collaboration with Orchesis dance company occurred in Winter, 2013. While members of the company danced on stage, the Symphony played on a lowered stage - a "pit." Together, we performed Smetana's The Moldau, with original choreography by faculty member Michelle Walter, and Marquez' Danzón No. 2, with original choreography by faculty member Diana Stanton. We performed together again in Winter 2015, and added Christy McNeil to the choreography team. Make sure to catch Orchesis' annual production in late January and check out their web site for more information. (web site)
During our Central Europe Tour in June, 2016, we collaborated with the Prelude Choir of Budapest (Hungary), Charles University Choir (Prague, Czech Republic), Prague Singers (Czech Republic) and Cantus Novus Wien (Vienna, Austria)
Beginning with the 2012-2013 season, the Symphony has sought opportunities to collaborate with artists in fields besides music. Below are those that have worked with the Symphony or are in the process of developing projects with the Symphony.
Photographer Sky Bergman created an original (and stunningly HD) projection of images to accompany our performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in Fall, 2012. Bergman’s fine art work is exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in a number of permanent collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, France.
(web site) ("Lives-Well-Lived" web site)
Choreographer Diana Stanton created an original dance for our joint performance with Orchesis of Arturo Márquez' Danzón No. 2 in Winter, 2013. Her choreography has been presented professionally in many venues including Jumpbrush Pacific Dance Convergence, McCallum Theatre's Choreography Under the Stars Festival in Palm Desert (CA), UC Irvine, CU Boulder, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and many others.
Michelle Walter created original choreography for our joint performance with Orchesis of Smetana's The Moldau in Winter, 2013. She is a Cal Poly graduate and Orchesis alumna. She received an M.A. in Dance Education from Stanford University. Michelle is the founder of the Cuesta College Dance Company, Entourage. She has been the director of that company for the past 11 years and an instructor of dance at Cuesta for 20 years.
Choreographer Christy McNeil had her first collaboration with the Symphony in Winter, 2015, with her original choreography of The James Bond Theme. Christy earned her BFA in dance from Cornish College, and her choreography was chosen to represent the college at the American College Dance Festival. At age fifteen, she performed in the Rudolf Nureyev Ballet Festival in Kazan, Russia as a member of Evergreen City Ballet and was honored to dance at the Artissima Festival of Art in Turin, Italy with Chamber Dance Company in 2010.
Tyler Whipple created a coordinated, multimedia set of projections to complement our performance of Respighi's Botticelli Triptych in Fall, 2012. At the time, he was a student in the Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies program and one of our violinists! Tyler has worked at Cal Poly's Center for Expressive Technologies, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and as concertmaster of the Central Florida Community Arts Orchestra.
Here is a photograph of Tyler's work: original animated projections on the organ pipes and President's box, with a slowly unfolding animation of Botticelli's paintings on the screen.