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Season 84 poster 2022

Manchester Symphony Orchestra announces 84th season

27 percent of repertoire is by composers from underrepresented groups

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra announces its 84th season with a schedule of four concerts under Debra Lynn, conductor and artistic director.

Dr Debra Lynn photo“I’m thrilled about the MSO 84th season! My personal goal is to strike a balance between familiar ‘standard’ masterworks and pieces by composers who are underrepresented due to long-standing exclusivism within classical music genres,” Lynn said.

“Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms were creative geniuses, and no one wants to do away with their important contributions to music and culture. However, it is time to level the playing field. Composers of all genders, abilities, cultural backgrounds, and races are writing -- and have written -- high-quality, innovative music that deserves to be treasured just as deeply and programmed as frequently as works by dead white men,” she said.

The Composer Diversity Database has suggested orchestras move toward programming 15 percent of their season repertoire by composers from underrepresented groups.

“I’m proud to say the MSO has been intentional about meeting that goal in our previous two seasons, and we are at 27 percent for our upcoming 84th season. No other orchestra in the region comes close to this achievement,” Lynn said. “Our audiences get to experience the classics, but they also have an opportunity to hear some wonderful music that they probably won’t hear anywhere else. This sets MSO concerts apart as truly unique and special. This broadening of our musical horizons is good for our community, good for our musicians, and good for me as a conductor. Everybody wins!”

Alongside celebrated works, the season opener showcases a work by a Chickasaw composer and the season ends with a world premiere by a Thai American guest artist and a composition by Lynn.

MSO undatedLegends is Oct. 9 in in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester, Indiana, campus of Manchester University. It features “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev, “Overture to King Arthur” by  Henry Purcell, “Chokfi’ (Sarcasm for String Orchestra and Percussion)” by Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and the “Mother Goose (Ma Mère l'Oye) Suite” by Maurice Ravel.
Gloria! is Dec. 11 in Cordier. It features “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Les Éolides” to celebrate the 200th birthday of Cesar Franck, “Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson, and “Gloria” by John Rutter. It features the Manchester Symphony Chorus.
• Dona Nobis Pacem is March 12, 2023, at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Indiana. It features Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Mass in C” with the Manchester University A Cappella Choir, the symphony chorus and area high school choirs. “Melody” by Myroslav Skoryk, “Dona Nobis Pacem” from the Mass in B Minor by Bach and “Lyric for Strings” by George Walker, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for music composition.
• Arts Potpourri is May 14, 2023, at Cordier. It features a world premiere by guest artist Jon Silpayamanant, Thai American composer and cellist; “Schemselnihar” by Leo Smit; and “Kandinsky Suite” by Debra Lynn.  Mikautadze Dance Theatre of Fort Wayne is featured in this concert.

“Silpayamanant is a brilliant Indiana composer,” Lynn said. He is also researcher, educator and multi-instrumentalist.

The MSO commissioned this new work as part of its guest artist residency program that brings national and international musicians to Manchester University for annual week-long residencies. Guest artists do outreach to K-12 students through school visits or field trips to MU’s North Manchester campus; conduct master classes for area high school and university students; and offer recital performances in addition to the MSO concert.

“Our guest artists raise the bar of excellence, challenge and engage our musicians, and bring the wider world to our community,” Lynn said. 

“I am also exited to offer ‘Schemselnihar’ by Smit at the May concert,” she said. Smit is a little-known Dutch composer who was killed in a Nazi extermination camp at the age of 43. “He left a small collection of beautiful works for voice, piano, and varying combinations of instruments. We would have so much more to enjoy, had his life not been cut short,” she said. Schemselnihar is the name of the tragic love interest character in the story of the Arabian Nights.

All MSO concerts are 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $15 for general admission. Admission is free for MU students, faculty and staff, as well as anyone younger than 18. Go to www.manchestersymphonyorchestra.org to buy tickets. They can also be purchased at the door.

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: https://debralynnmusic.org/

To arrange an interview with her, email DJLynn@manchester.edu.

Trend: The Institute for Composer Diversity and League of American Orchestra report significant increases in works by female composers and composers of color being performed by American orchestras: https://americanorchestras.org/2022-orchestra-repertoire-report/

Composer Diversity Database: https://www.composerdiversity.com/

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 MU, faculty, staff and student musicians.

July 2022