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It's a 'New World' for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra

Diane Wittry, Mimi Stillman, and Frances Duffy
Contributed photos
Allentown Symphony Orechtra Maestra Diane Wittry, flutist Mimi Stillman, and harpist Frances Duffy will be appearing at the Symphony's next concert on February 11 and 12, 2023 at Miller Symphony Hall.

The Allentown Symphony Orchestra will perform compositions by Antonín Dvořák, William Grant Still, and Zhou Tian for their next concert at Miller Symphony Hall. WDIY host Karen El-Chaar spoke with Maestra Diane Wittry, flutist Mimi Stillman, and harpist Frances Duffy about the upcoming performance on February 11 and 12, 2023.

Beginning the concert will be William Grant Still's "Ennanga for Harp and Orchestra" featuring harpist Frances Duffy who is principal harp of the Wheeling and Allentown Symphony Orchestras. Duffy has an impressive resume with previous performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The ennanga is an "arched harp" — a harp with a curved neck that arches above the resonating body of the instrument, held in the player’s lap — associated with the music of East Africa; its origins apparently stretch back to ancient Egypt.

The next piece being performed will be Zhou Tian's Flute Concerto featuring flutist Mimi Stillman, an internationally acclaimed solo, chamber, and recording artist. Stillman has previously performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Marine Chamber Orchestra of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and many more. Zhour Tian (JOH TEE-en) is a Grammy-nominated Chinese-American composer born in 1981 who has racked up critical praise from outlets like Fanfare (“absolutely beautiful…utterly satisfying”) and the Cincinnati Enquirer (“stunning”).

Finishing the concert will be Antonín Dvořák's best-known work, his “New World” symphony, the byname of Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95: From the New World. The “New World” symphony is considered by many to be the singularly famous symphonic masterpiece of the Romantic Era, ranking with those by Brahms and Sibelius.

There will be two performances of the concert at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown — Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 12 at 2 p.m. The concerts are part of the ASO Classical Series. Tickets and more information are available at the Miller Symphony Hall website.

(Original air-date: 2/9/2023)

Karen El-Chaar is a longtime volunteer at WDIY. She is the host of the public affairs program, The El-Chaar Chronicles, where she discusses legal, environmental, and political issues. She is also a rotating host of WDIY music programs WDIY Classics, Jazz Factory, and Swing Sunday. Karen currently serves as the president of the WDIY board of directors.
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