Concert-Pops Concert set for March 14

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The Mike Dewey Memorial Concerto-Pops Concert on March 14 at the Performing Arts Center will have an international feel.

That's because this year’s concert will feature the premier of “Not i,” a commissioned work by Chitravina N. Ravikiran, popularly referred to as the "Mozart of Indian Music."

Through the Global Initiative Grant, MCPASD has invited this world-renowned composer, slide instrumentalist, and vocalist to compose pieces for MHS Symphony Orchestra performances including the Concerto Pops Concert and Eine Kleine Kindermusik performed for more than 1,000 elementary school students on March 13 at 9 and 10 a.m., respectively, at the PAC. The middle school orchestras will premier Ravikiran’s "Bay of Bengal" at their May concert.

Ravikiran will also be visiting MCPASD schools for rehearsals andworkshops with the orchestras on March 12 and 14. The workshops he will be conducting are March 12 at MHS with the MHS Symphony Orchestra from noon until 1:30 p.m. and March 14 at Glacier Creek Middle School from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. As part of his school visits, he will demonstrate playing his 21‐stringed fretless lute, a slide instrument called the chitravina.

"Ravikiran's visit is a unique opportunity for area orchestra students,'' said Rhonda Thompson, the public relations coordinator for the Band and Orchestra Parents Association.

In addition, the popular concert will showcase five featured student performers playing and singing concertos/arias. Performing with piano accompaniment will be alto saxophonist Chance Stine, playing Ibert’s Concertino di Camera. Performing with the MHS Symphony Orchestra will be violists Julia Tibbetts and Nathaniel Corey, playing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.6, Mvt. 3; soprano soloist Anja Pustaver, singing Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi; and clarinetist Sonia Urquidi, performing Clarinet Concertino by Weber.

In addition to the concertos, the orchestra will also be playing two movements from the Tchaikovsky "Serenade for Strings," the "Surprise" movement from the Haydn Symphony No.94, and excerpts from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" under the direction of Steve Kurr.

The 2-hour concert is free and begings at 7:30 p.m.

Among Indian classical musicians, Ravikiran is perhaps the most active composer in the Western Classical and world music arena today. His most significant contribution to world music is Melharmony, a new approach to compositions and aesthetics that he initiated in 2000 at the Millennium Festival in the United Kingdom, on the eve of his performances with artists of the BBC Philharmonic. Melharmony aims to create a synergy between diverse melodic concepts not common in the West (in terms of form and structure, artistry and ornamentation) and harmonic dimensions and tonal verticality that are almost totally absent in the Eastern approach.

Melharmony is being introduced at the grass-root school levels for the first time in United States by MCPASD. The district's middle school students will present Bay of Bengal -- Ravikiran's Melharmonic arrangement of a traditional composition of Karur Brothers in the Indian raga Bangala -- while the High School String Orchestra will showcase an original composition of his, Not i.

Melharmony can be defined as “harmony and vertical layers of music in an aesthetic manner but with an emphasis on the rules and principles of highly evolved melodic systems such as the raga system of Indian music.” This implies that in Melharmonic compositions, the very approach to harmony is distinctive from conventional approaches to harmony employed in Western Classical, Jazz and allied systems. It is a highly sophisticated and organized approach with comprehensible, context-specific rules that can be explained rationally and applied consistently to create high quality music. Melharmony and its principles can be applied to any well-defined melodic system of music.