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New conductor brings innovative changes to ASU’s orchestral program

On Nov. 4, the ASU Symphony Orchestra presents "A Circle of Forces." The concert is led by director of orchestras Jeffery Meyer conducting Benjamin Britten’s evocative “Four Sea Interludes,” Prokofiev’s powerful “Symphony No. 5” in honor of the composer’s 125th birthday, and the U.S. premiere of Frank Nuyts’ “Tumbleweed Concerto” for cello and orchestra featuring ASU School of Music professor of cello Thomas Landschoot. The concert is open to all, free of charge.

New director of orchestras Jeffery Meyer conducts his fourth concert at ASU, "A Circle of Forces", Nov. 4 at ASU Gammage.

“Jeffery Meyer has brought a passion for music and the performance of new works, a love for education and students, and tremendous experience and artistry to the ASU School of Music orchestral program,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “It’s a joy to see our students so excited about making music.”

The program Nov. 4 marks Meyer’s fourth concert in his inaugural season as the ASU School of Music director of orchestras, and if you haven’t been able to attend the previous concerts, this musical offering is definitely one not to miss.

“The ASU School of Music is a fantastic program because I get to do what I would do in the professional field every day at school, and I think that’s the beauty of studying music in an institution,” said Meghan Ruel, master of music student in violin performance. “The faculty here are open and conscientious of what our generation has to do right now to ensure that art-making is still in existence.”

The ASU Symphony Orchestra provides an intensive orchestral experience and professional-level artistic performances to help emerging young artists develop a wide range of skills and aptitudes. Rich concert programming offers audiences and the greater arts community opportunities to engage with major works of the orchestral canon as well as cutting-edge contemporary works.

In addition to conducting the ASU Symphony Orchestra, Meyer teaches the graduate orchestral conducting studio. The ASU orchestral and opera conducting studio, one of the most competitive graduate programs in the country, offers students the rare opportunity to gain a breadth of experience in both orchestral and opera conducting.

"The addition of Dr. Meyer to the School of Music faculty has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on the orchestra and the conducting program at ASU,” said Cullan Lucas, current doctor of musical arts in conducting student. “His character and musicianship has brought a new vitality to the orchestra, and by cultivating a stronger relationship between the Phoenix Symphony and the orchestras at ASU, excitement around the program is certainly at an all-time high. As a graduate conducting student at ASU, the addition of the new conducting studio orchestra has provided invaluable podium time exploring major orchestral repertoire with direct feedback both from the players and Dr. Meyer.”

Meyer’s initiative to engage Phoenix Symphony musicians to teach orchestral sectional rehearsals and the addition of the new orchestral studio class have already had an immediate positive effect on the program and are sure to create great momentum and excitement moving forward.

“The young musicians that make up the ASU orchestra program are some of the most talented performers in the United States, and our orchestra program offers the ASU and surrounding community outstanding concert experiences that should not be missed,” said Meyer. “The energy and commitment on stage can be seen and felt by seasoned concert goers as well as those who are new to the orchestral experience.”

“Through Dr. Jeffery Meyer’s audience-building initiative, we are approaching concert attendance on a whole new level,” said Ruel. “From performing pop-up concerts at the Memorial Union in advance of our main performances to visiting local schools and providing musical experiences for area youth to advertising on social media, we are inviting everyone to our concerts, and we hope that the community will come and experience this wonderful music with us.”

The short video below features a day in the life of Jeffery Meyer. We hope this sparks your interest to come and hear the ASU Symphony Orchestra and support live music in Arizona.

The ASU Symphony Orchestra’s performance of "A Circle of Forces" is Friday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at ASU Gammage. Admission is free.

For more information, visit asuevents.asu.edu.