Sept. 27 Symphonic Band concert to celebrate the life of UNT alumnus Don Gillis
What: UNT’s Symphonic Band celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of UNT alumnus and esteemed composer/conductor Don Gillis, with a performance, pre-concert lecture and display of items from the Music Library’s Don Gillis Collection.
When/ Where: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 (Thursday) in the Murchison Performing Arts Center.
A pre-concert lecture about Don Gillis is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens, non-UNT students, children, UNT faculty/staff/retirees and groups of more than 10. Free for UNT students.
Contact: Leslie Wimmer at Leslie.Wimmer@unt.edu or 940-565-4835
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas Symphonic Band will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of UNT alumnus and esteemed composer/conductor Don Gillis with a performance at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27 (Thursday) in Winspear Hall at UNT’s Murchison Performing Arts Center.
A pre-concert lecture about Don Gillis is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Winspear Hall.
Conductor Dennis Fisher and the UNT Symphonic Band will perform selections ranging from Gillis’s early works, composed while serving as a radio producer for conductor Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra broadcasts in the 1940s and 1950s, to his later works from the 1960s.
“We take great pride in the professional contributions of all our alumni. Don Gillis's incredible contributions to American music through not only his marvelous musical compositions, but through his work with the NBC Symphonic Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air represent a major chapter in modern American musical history,” Fisher said. “Even today, those radio broadcasts are legendary. It is both a source of pride and humbling that we can commemorate his centennial with this collaborative concert of some of his works.”
Gillis, who received UNT’s Distinguished Alumni Award, was the first student to earn a master’s degree in music composition from the College of Music in the early 1940s. He received notoriety as producer of the NBC Symphony Orchestra radio broadcasts, but also was a prolific composer who incorporated styles from popular music and jazz into his works for band and orchestra. Gillis’s humorous work titles include January February March; Symphony “X:” Big “D,” which was inspired by the city of Dallas, Symphony No. 5 1/2: A Symphony for Fun; and Bing, Bang, Bong!: Variations on the NBC Chimes, which are among the pieces the Symphonic Band will perform in the Sept. 27 concert.
Items from the Don Gillis Collection housed in the UNT Music Library will be on display during the concert. The collection, donated to UNT by Barbara Gillis after her husband’s death in 1978, includes a complete set of tapes from the radio series “Toscanini: The Man Behind the Legend,” as well as manuscripts, tapes of Gillis’s works, an unpublished autobiography, papers, pictures and scrapbooks.
“The collaboration between the College of Music and UNT Libraries for this event will make this an experience you can’t get anywhere else,” said Maristella Feustle, music librarian for special collections.
Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 940-369-7802. Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens, non-UNT students, children, UNT faculty/staff/retirees and groups of more than 10; and are free for UNT students.
The performance also will be broadcast live online, and will include a special intermission video feature about the music of Don Gillis.
The UNT Symphonic Band has a national reputation both for its performances and Grammy-nominated recordings. The band has performed for such visiting dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Symphonic Band has released six compact disc recordings on the Mark and Eurosound labels.
About the UNT College of Music
The UNT College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the country. About 1,500 music students attend UNT each year, participating in more than 40 widely varied ensembles and pursuing specialized studies in performance, composition, music education or music scholarship. UNT faculty members and students have made appearances on the world’s finest stages and have produced numerous recordings, many receiving Grammy awards and nominations. Distinguished UNT alumni can be found around the globe, in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities and schools.
UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108