Glacier Symphony: “Star Wars, Dark Matter and Dvorak”

Orchestra takes a cosmic journey with concerts in Whitefish and Kalispell

New & Notable

Glacier Symphony brings “Star Wars, Dark Matter and Dvorak” to Whitefish High School Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, and Flathead High Performance Hall at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. This entertaining and informative concert focuses on symphony music as a dramatic narrative art form. The concert features repertoire and popular pieces by 19th century Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and American film composer John Williams. An additional treat on this program will be the world premiere of “Dark Matter,” a tuba concerto by Missoula-based tuba virtuoso and composer, Benedict Kirby.

Dvorak’s “The Noon Day Witch,” a symphonic tone poem composed in 1896, is considered one of the composer’s best. The 15-minute, one-movement work “almost cinematically illustrates a dark domestic folk tale involving a mother and father, an unruly child and, of course, The Noon Day Witch, who makes an appearance half way through the piece with devastating results,” says symphony conductor John Zoltek. “This technique of symphonic narrative drama, born from the concert halls and opera stages of the19th century, had major impact on the art of modern film composing.”

Along that vein, the Glacier Symphony Orchestra performs “The Force Awakens Suite” and “ET Adventures on Earth,” taken from recent popular films. Both of these works by Williams “are fine examples of how contemporary composers still draw on musical devices and the esthetic language developed largely by various 19th century composers,” says Zoltek.

He describes Kirby’s premiere as “an exciting work full of interesting orchestral color, fun melodies and sparkling, unexpected rhythms.” Kirby will serve as soloist, “navigating the cosmos of orchestra texture with technical bravura and low brass lyricism,” says Zoltek.

Kirby currently teaches tuba and euphonium at the University of Montana School of Music as well as instrumental music at Loyola Sacred Heart High School in Missoula. He has rich experience in all facets of music making, including performing (tuba), composition, conducting, education and music technology.

Tickets for Glacier Symphony’s concerts are priced in several seating tiers starting at $15 for adults; youth through grade 12 are admitted free to this Masterworks concert. Purchase tickets online at; call 406-407-7000 for more information.