Sunday, June 5, 2022
3 p.m., Performing Arts Center
The Cal Poly Symphony and Cal Poly Choirs will perform Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Dona Nobis Pacem” and William Grant Still’s “Afro-American Symphony” at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 5, in Miossi Hall of the Performing Arts Center.
Both momentous works were composed in the 1930s and addressed issues of that time that are equally relevant today. The groups will be joined by guest soloists Amy Goymerac, soprano; and John Buffett, baritone.
The Cal Poly Chamber Choir will open the concert with Paul Hindemith’s celebrated “Six Chansons,” which was composed in the same era. The Cal Poly Symphony will then perform Grant Still's “Afro-American Symphony,” a celebration of Black culture and the blues that rose from the Harlem Renaissance of the early 20th century. Each movement uses a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar as an epigraph. Completed in 1930, this was the first symphony to be written by an African-American composer and premiered by a major orchestra.
After intermission, the symphony will perform Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk’s “Melody,” and the combined Cal Poly Choirs and symphony will perform Williams’ “Dona Nobis Pacem” (“Give Us Peace”).
Composed in 1936, “Dona Nobis Pacem” was written at the dawn of World War II. The text of the work is primarily derived from Walt Whitman’s poetry written at the time of the American Civil War. The combination of Williams’ brilliant orchestration and the raw and emotional Whitman text creates a combination that has stood the test of time and remained one of the most celebrated masterworks of the 20th century.
Tickets ($15 and $20 general, $10 students)