Music at Penn's Woods Festival Orchestra performs Beethoven, Barber and Rossini

June 18, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The first orchestral concert of the Music at Penn's Woods festival kicks off with works by Rossini, Barber and Beethoven. The festival orchestra, under the leadership of music director and Penn State professor of music Gerardo Edelstein, began rehearsals June 16. The Festival Orchestra concert is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20, in Esber Recital Hall.

The program opens with one of Rossini's most playful overtures, chock full of changes of mood and tempo, ending with an uproarious finale. The Barber violin concerto is a wonderful showcase of the American composer's gifts for lyrical and wistful melodies as well as a burst of breakneck tempos and technical virtuosity in the last movement. Finally, Beethoven loved the outdoors and the Pastoral Symphony was the product of his many solitary walks in the countryside outside of Vienna. Film buffs may already be familiar with it since the Disney animators highlighted it in the original "Fantasia." Who could forget those scenes of young centaurs basking in the sun only to be interrupted by Zeus throwing occasional lightning bolts. 

The soloist for Barber's "Violin Concerto" is State College native Nicholas DiEugenio. Praised for his “invigorating, silken” playing and “mysterious atmosphere” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and as an “evocative” violinist (New York Times), DiEugenio leads a versatile life as performer, collaborator and teacher in music from Biber to Carter and beyond. He is assistant professor of violin at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During the summers, DiEugenio is director of the Richard Luby Violin Symposium, a member of the violin faculty at the Kinhaven Music School and has appeared at the Monadnock Festival in New Hampshire. Previously, he was violin professor at the Ithaca College School of Music. He holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (bachelor of music and master of music) and the Yale School of Music, where he earned the Artist Diploma and a doctor of musical arts degree. DiEugenio's parents are Rich and Janet DiEugenio. Rich DiEugenio spent more than 25 years in Penn State's Office of Governmental Affairs.

The orchestra program closes with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major "Pastoral." Beethoven wrote a short descriptive note preceding each movement so that the listener knew exactly what the composer was thinking as he wrote each movement. One of just a handful of programmatic works penned by Beethoven, perhaps it was Walt Disney who would forever seal this work into our understanding as he, along with Leopold Stokowski, created "Fantasia." 

Seats still remain, and tickets can be reserved at

Last Updated June 19, 2015