Concerto-Aria Concert to Feature Student Soloists

Feb. 15, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra (IWSO) will host the annual Henry Charles Memorial Concerto-Aria Concert on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church (404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington). The event is free and open to the public.

The concert will highlight solos by three IWU students named winners of the School of Music’s Concerto-Aria competition last fall. This year’s winners were Jack Gardner ’18, Dean Scopelliti ’19 and Ari Scott ’20.

Becoming a soloist for the Concerto-Aria Concert is a coveted honor among IWU musicians. “So many fantastic musicians at IWU have won this competition,” said Scopelliti, who has been working toward the goal since his freshman year, “and to have my name up there with them is really humbling and surreal.”

In the months and years of preparation, each of the soloists invested tremendous time and energy in order to hone their talents, with the help and support of their mentors. “I am very grateful to my accompanist, Nancy, and my cello teacher, Nina, for working with me throughout this process,” said Scott, who is looking forward in particular to Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, which the orchestra will perform along with pieces by Popper, Khachaturian, Plau, Brahms and other notable composers.

When reflecting on the hard work and setbacks they faced on the path to success, the students found the honor of being named a soloist for the Concerto-Aria Concert was worth all their efforts. “This is actually my third time trying for it,” Gardner said. “And I feel like all of the sacrifice—all of the lost sleep, all the time spent in practice rooms obsessively engineering piece after piece, all the time on the technical work so my body could catch up to what I wanted in my head—really has culminated in the moment I get to go out there onstage and do what I love, which is just to have fun playing music.”

The Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by visiting assistant professor of music Lev Ivanov, brings together talented student musicians across all disciplines. Since its founding in 1984, the orchestra has performed alongside several distinguished figures in the music industry, such as Illinois Wesleyan alumna and Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw ’82. It has also played in concert with the Volgograd Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, performed on CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” and toured throughout the United States.

This concert will be followed by a free reception provided by the Alpha Lambda chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. For additional information, please contact the School of Music at (309) 556-3061.

By Rachel McCarthy ’21