SEK Planets Poster

Southeast Kansas Symphony Concert

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Discounted tickets for PSU students are available, with valid PSU ID, purchased and picked up in person, at PSU Ticket Office in Room 137 of the Weede Physical Education Building.

Event information

October 28, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Presented By: Department of Music

Location: Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall

Address: Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, 1711 S. Homer, Pittsburg KS 66762

Event details

It is with great pleasure we invite you to the first concert of the 2018-19 season and what a better way to bring you back to the concert hall but with several masterworks. I invite you to bring a friend or family member to witness this amazing event.
This will be a ticketed event - ticket info coming soon.

Ticket prices will be $9 - $12. Free for students and faculty with ID.

Dr. Raul Munguia


Gustav Holst (1874–1934)
The Planets (1914–17)

Gustav Holst's The Planets has been one of the most beloved as well as respected pieces of music for orchestras & audiences around the world. Now more than a century old, the composer’s astrological, rather than scientific or mythological, depiction of the planets continues to thrill audiences with its vibrancy, power, and mystery. Each planetary “portrait” reveals a fitting attribute: “the Bringer of War” Mars’s bellicose hammer blows; “The Bringer of Peace” Venus’s gentle serenity; “The Winged Messenger” Mercury’s gossamer fleet-footedness; and “The Mystic” Neptune’s haunting sonorities with a chorus of disembodied female voices singing wordlessly off stage till they fade away into the great unknown. Why only seven planets? Holst omitted our home planet, and Pluto (now, per NASA, officially called a “dwarf planet”) had not yet been discovered. The performance will be accompanied by a selection of pictures and videos published by NASA.

For the first time, the Southeast Kansas Symphony ventures to dwell into the entire work with the assistance of Faculty, community members, and guest musicians from 7 different countries. For the third consecutive year, Dr. Munguía brings together a group of musicians from Latin America to share their talent with our community by joining the orchestra during the last portion of the rehearsal process bringing this particular performance to a whole new level only expected by professional orchestras in our area. We also welcome PSU Professor of cello Dr. Sunnat Ibrahim performing the daring Dvorak Cello Concerto. Professor Ibrahim has been with the faculty at PSU for two years now. He comes back from an International competition being held in China this summer. 

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104 (1894-95)

In 1865, early in his career, Dvořák started a Cello Concerto in A major (B. 10). The piece was written for Ludevít Peer, whom he knew well from the Provisional Theatre Orchestra in which they both played. He handed the cello score (with piano accompaniment) over to Peer for review but neither bothered to finish the piece. It was recovered from his estate in 1925.

Hanuš Wihan, among others, had asked for a cello concerto for quite some time, but Dvořák always refused, stating that the cello was a fine orchestral instrument but totally insufficient for a solo concerto. According to Josef Michl, Dvořák was fond of the middle register but complained about a nasal high register and a mumbling bass. In a letter to a friend, Dvořák wrote that he himself was probably most surprised by his decision to write a cello concerto despite these long-held reservations.

Dvořák wrote the concerto while in New York City for his third term as the Director of the National Conservatory. In 1894 one of the teachers at the Conservatory, Victor Herbert, also a composer, finished his Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30, and premiered it in a series of concerts, commencing on March 9th. Dvořák heard at least two performances of the piece and was inspired to fulfill Wihan's request in composing a cello concerto of his own. Herbert had been the principal cellist in the orchestra that premiered Dvořák's "New World" Symphony on December 16, 1893. Herbert's middle movement was in B minor, which may have inspired Dvořák to write his concerto in the same key. It was started on November 8, 1894 and completed on  February 9,1895.

After seeing the score, Hanuš Wihan made various suggestions for improvement, including two cadenzas, one at the end of the third movement. But Dvořák accepted only a few minor changes and neither of the cadenzas. The third movement was a tribute to his sister-in-law, Josefina Kaunitzova, née Čermakova, who had written him a letter in November 1894 saying she was seriously ill. Specifically, the slow, wistful section, before the triumphant ending, quotes his song "Leave Me Alone (Kéž duch můj sám)", Op. 82, B.157, No. 1, a favorite of hers. She died in May 1895, after which the concerto was further revised.

Dvořák wrote to his publishers:

"I give you my work only if you will promise me that no one, not even my friend Wihan, shall make any alteration in it without my knowledge and permission, also that there be no cadenza such as Wihan has made in the last movement; and that its form shall be as I have felt it and thought it out."

The finale, he wrote, should close gradually with a diminuendo "like a breath ... then there is a crescendo, and the last measures are taken up by the orchestra, ending stormily. That was my idea, and from it, I cannot recede"


Contact information

Dr Raul Munguia