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
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