In the News

‘Peter and the Wolf’ launches Manchester Symphony Orchestra season

Legends concert offers musical storytelling – from Mother Goose to King Arthur

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra opens its 84th season Oct. 9 featuring “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev.

Dr Debra Lynn photo“This is the quintessential work classical music buffs think of when searching their memory banks for symphonic storytelling works. It’s like a bedtime story with a soundtrack,” said Conductor Debra Lynn.

“The narrator describes the action in words, and the orchestra draws aural illustrations of the action with character-to-instrument associations like a bird played by the flute, a cat played by the clarinet and the wolf played by the French horns,” she said. “Prokofiev’s brilliant composition conjures up vivid images of this ancient fable in a way that is unforgettable and much loved by all generations. We are thrilled that Dr. Scott Strode, Manchester professor emeritus of theater, has agreed to serve as our narrator.”

The concert is 3 p.m. Oct. 9 in in Cordier Auditorium at Manchester University North Manchester. Tickets are $20 for general admission. Admission is free for MU students, faculty and staff, as well as anyone younger than 18. To buy tickets or get access to the livestream, go to Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

The storytelling continues with “Mother Goose (Ma Mère l'Oye) Suite” by Maurice Ravel, which offers musical renditions of five Mother Goose nursery tales: Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, Princess of the Pagodas, Beauty and the Beast, and The Fairy Garden.

“The aural imagery is stunningly colorful and mystical, featuring the glistening sounds of the celesta and harp in addition to a low, gurgly appearance by the contrabassoon – an uncommon instrument in the orchestra – as The Beast,” Lynn said.

MSO undated“Chokfi” by Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate is a short and exciting new work.

“The English translation of the title is ‘Rabbit.’ It explores how a rabbit moves: running, hopping, gliding, sitting tall, lying low, ears up and down (or one of each), twitching nose, and many others that make this animal legendary among Indigenous peoples throughout their history on this continent,” Lynn said. “This challenging, nimble work will be led by student conductor Mason Kniola.”

The concert also showcases “Overture to King Arthur." This suite from Henry Purcell’s Baroque-era opera teems with regalia, honor, heroism and beauty. This piece is especially poignant in these weeks following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

For the media
Dr. Debra J. Lynn is director of choral organizations and vocal studies at Manchester University. A composer who conducted for the third time this spring at Carnegie Hall, she is a collaborative musical storyteller. Learn more about Dr. Lynn.

To arrange an interview with her, email

With about 6,000 residents, North Manchester is one of the smallest communities in the nation with its own symphony orchestra. Residents of Wabash County and what was then Manchester College founded the symphony in 1939. That partnership continues today with a carefully crafted collaboration of professional and community musicians, as well as selected Manchester faculty, staff and student musicians.

September 2022