If a single phrase captures the American experience, it might be "the vast melting pot," the way George Gershwin described "Rhapsody in Blue," which is at the heart of the next concert of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University.
The performance begins at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, in TTU’s Wattenbarger Auditorium. Tickets are $32 for adults and $27 for seniors 65 and up. Call 931-525-2633 for availability. The performance is sponsored by Father Herb and Mrs. Betty Catlin, Bob and Gail Luna, Robert and MaryDell Sommers, and Luna & Birdwell Investment Group.
An alloy of different cultures from almost every continent, the America of the 20th century gave composers rich material to work with. What Gershwin contributed to the repertory was called at the time "the only real American music."
Guest artist Michael Chertock is making a return engagement with the BSO to perform solo piano for "Rhapsody." Chertock, who plays with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and is known for his intelligent and expressive interpretations of the Gershwin standard, last appeared with the BSO in 2004.
Also on the Nov. 18 program is "American Salute," a Morton Gould composition based on the Civil War-era song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," as well as "The Greatest Generation" by Tennessee Tech resident composer Greg Danner.
It's impossible to describe 20th -century America without factoring in the Depression and World War II, and that's what Danner's "Greatest Generation" does. The BSO premiere of the piece includes narration by TTU Backdoor Playhouse Director Mark Creter. Danner's work, inspired by the Tom Brokaw book of the same name, won the 2010 Composers' Guild Grand Prize.
Between now and the day after the concert, the BSO is hosting events in Crossville and Cookeville. Visit the BSO's web site at www.bryansymphony.org for a full schedule of concert events.
The only professional symphony in Tennessee outside a metropolitan area in the state, the Bryan Symphony is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2012-2013 season.