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Sept. 30 WVU Symphony Orchestra performance brings together students, current faculty and professor emeritus

WVUSO member

The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra will perform an intimate concert on Friday, Sept. 30 at WVU’s Canady Creative Arts Center.

The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., opens with John Beall’s deeply personal “New Testament Songs.” Beall is a professor emeritus of composition in WVU’s School of Music. WVU Professor of Voice Hope Koehler will accompany WVUSO.

WVUSO will also perform Ralph Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 3, ‘Pastoral’. Completed in 1922, Vaughan Williams’s inspiration for the piece came during his service in World War I after hearing a bugler practicing.

“Pastoral Symphony is both a tragic and beautiful work.” said Mitchell Arnold, WVU’s director of orchestral activities. “It is Vaughan Williams’ profound reaction to the horrors and tragedy of WWI in which he served on the lines as an ambulance driver. I find that its sound landscape capture the pastoral beauty of the French landscape and the horrors of battle.

Fifty-five WVU students perform in the Symphony Orchestra, ranging from freshman to graduate students. 

“I know that for the orchestra and myself, performing is an act of expression,” Arnold said. “We craft our sound to communicate a range of emotions and feelings - to reflect the breadth and depth of the orchestral music we play.  We want to go beyond the notes, more into them or behind them to find what they express.”

The concert will be held in the in the Antoinette E. Falbo Theatre, a departure from WVUSO’s usual, much larger concert hall which is currently under construction. 

“Our audience will be physically very close to us for this concert,” Arnold said. “So close that they will be more a part of the concert than is usually the case in the large hall.  We would love for the physical proximity to become an artistic connection.”

The concert is free but tickets are required. To reserve tickets, visit  A live stream of the concert will be available at