St. Louis Symphony brass quintet to perform outreach concert on campus


Five members of St. Louis Symphony Brass section will perform Monday, February 24, for the "Symphony at Your College" outreach program. Photo courtesy of professor John Korak

Preceding last October’s World Series between the Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Symphony (SLSO) and Boston Symphony brass members competed in a BRASS-OFF competition. The SLSO musicians will teach and perform on campus next week.

The video of the competition went viral, according to Maureen Byrne, St. Louis Symphony director of community programs, “because it was so fun…a fun way to support the teams.”

Five of the St. Louis Symphony brass members will perform on campus for free as part of the “Symphony in Your College” outreach program.

The quintet consists of Karin Bliznik (trumpet), Mike Walk (trumpet), Anna Spina (French horn), Tim Myers (trombone) and Gerry Pagano (bass trombone, tuba).

Prior to the performance, the members will hold a master class for roughly 20 brass students on campus. The clinic, according to Byrne, will be tailored to the specific needs of the brass students. Byrne said they are delighted to be coming to SIUE, which is the first “Symphony in Your College” performance on campus.

“We’ll look forward to working with all the students there and performing,” Byrne said.

Music professor John Korak said the students are excited to learn from and hear the quintet.

“These are world class musicians for my students and myself to hear… listening to musicians of this caliber can be very inspirational,” Korak said.

According to Korak, community outreach will also be extended by SIUE to the surrounding region by inviting local schools to the event.

“Community outreach is an important extension of our mission as a music department,” Korak said. “It’s all designed to further arts in our community…so we do whatever we can.”

Korak said he hopes this partnership will continue for years to come.

Music Department Chair Audrey Tallant coordinated this effort and said the department has a close working relationship with the symphony.

The past five years Adam Crane, vice president of external affairs, and Maggie Bailey, director of operations of the SLSO, have shared their knowledge in Tallant’s music business class about the symphony’s administration activities for free. The symphony offers discounted tickets for students in the music freshman seminar class organized by music education professor Deborah Smith who takes them each semester to watch performances. Horn faculty Jim Wehrman has been a member of the St. Louis Symphony since 1987.

Byrne said through grants, sponsorships and individual donors, the St. Louis Symphony is able to compensate the musicians while not charging the colleges they perform and hold master classes for through the “Symphony in Your College” outreach program.

The show takes place Mon. February 24 at 6 p.m. in Dunham Hall Theater. Seating is on first come, first served basis.

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