Missoula Symphony’s Our American Voices

Concerts March 5-6 speaks to “the richness of different perspectives”

On Stage

The Missoula Symphony continues the 2021-2022 season with “Our American Voices,” an all-American concert that mixes classic work and new voices March 5 and 6 at the UM Dennison Theatre.

“The Missoula Symphony is eager to bring ‘Our American Voices’ to Missoula audiences,” says Music Director Julia Tai said. “This performance showcases composers and pieces that speak to the richness of different perspectives found throughout American music both in the past and today.”

The symphony will be joined by guest artist Yesong Sophie Lee, performing the lush violin concerto by Samuel Barber. A rising star, the Seattle violinist won the First Prize at the 2016 Yehudi Menuhin International Junior Violin Competitionat age 12. The Telegraph called her performance “a real homage to Menuhin in the way her vibrato extended seamlessly from note to note.” Berlin’s Kultur Radio wrote, “Her seriousness and density of expression is amazing … a huge talent.” She was a soloist with the Seattle Symphony at age 8, made her orchestral debut at age 7, and has continued to perform with major orchestras across the U.S. and abroad.

Barber’s popular concerto was a turning point in his stylistic development. Its first two movements echo his youthful Romantic style of composition, while the finale points to his later evolution toward modernism.

The performance also includes music from Jessie Montgomery and William Grant Still, who was the first African-American composer and conductor to conduct a major orchestra in the United States. Still’s four-movement Afro-American Symphony has become an enduring favorite due to its colorful mix of blues, jazz and classical idioms.

Montgomery’s “Strum,” with its expansive voicing, rhythmic vitality, colorful textures and folk-style melodies, showcases why the composer has lately emerged as a fast-rising star in American classical music.

Concertgoers can see “Our American Voices” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5 or 3 p.m. Sunday, March 6 at the Dennison Theatre on the UM campus, or live stream the performance from home.

Tickets for “Our American Voices” can be purchased online at missoulasymphony.org or by calling 406-721-3194.