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The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra will travel internationally for the first time in 17 years

A man conducts a college-aged orchestra.
Marlon Rissatto
University of Wyoming
Dr. Michael Griffith conducts the orchestra during a rehearsal

Seventeen years ago, the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra traveled to Bolivia. This month, over the university’s spring break, the ensemble will fly to Europe to tour in France and Spain. Dr. Michael Griffith, director of orchestral activities, will conduct and lead the group.

“The orchestra has been highly motivated, they're working very hard because they want to put their best foot forward. That's been a very gratifying thing to see as well,” Griffth said.

The ensemble will perform in Avignon and Barcelona. They will be playing a variety of pieces including excerpts from the opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, Richard Wagner’s “Mastersingers” Overture, and “Symphony No. 3” by Jean Sibelius. One of these compositions is by an American composer, written in the modern era.

“Whenever an orchestra travels to another country, they almost always do something by a composer that's native to the country they're from. We're doing a piece called “Seven o'clock shout” by Valerie Coleman. It's a very interesting piece that was written at the height of COVID,” Griffith said.

“Seven o’clock shout” has never been played in France or Spain, making the upcoming performance its world premiere in both countries. The composition will feature the orchestra stomping and shouting, in reference to healthcare workers leaving their job at the same time, and people shouting from their homes in support of them. Griffith said this piece is bright, slow, and nostalgic.

Marlon Rissatto
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra rehearsing before leaving for Europe

Besides performing, the orchestra will explore many tourist destinations including La Sagrada Familia and the Cours Mirabeau. They will also be taking a cooking class and walking through museums.

After the orchestra’s return, they will finish their concert season with a performance on May 2.

Originally from Casper, Wyoming, Taylor moved to Laramie, Wyoming in the fall of 2020. She is a fourth-year journalism major with a minor in jazz at the University of Wyoming. She has participated in many musical ensembles on campus, including the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and the Western Thunder Marching Band. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, watching cartoons, camping, and swimming.
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