Due to the ongoing health crisis, we will cap the audience in the new reimagined concert season to allow for appropriate social distancing. Due to this limited capacity, tickets will be available for reservation on a first-come, first-serve basis, with the following priority schedule for our current season ticket subscribers:
Dr. Pam Youngblood
Dr. Jaymee Haefner
Jaymee Haefner’s performances have been described by Daniel Buckley as possessing “an air of dreamy lyricism… interlocking melody lines with the deftness of a dancer’s footwork.” Jaymee joined the University of North Texas faculty in 2006. An avid supporter of new compositions for harp, Jaymee Haefner has recently commissioned and premiered several new works, including In Arkadia for horn and harp by Gary Schocker (Los Angeles, 2015), Better than One and Snow for harp duet by Gary Schocker (New Orleans, 2015), Et descendit for flute, viola and harp by Sungji Hong (Denton, Texas, 2016), Music for Violin and Harp by Patricio Da Silva (Atlanta, 2016), Flutter by Kirsten Broberg (Hong Kong, 2017), Still/Nervous by Gary Schocker (Hong Kong, 2017), and Canonic Crimson by Paul Patterson (Philadelphia, 2018). Her duo, Crimson, received a grant from the American Harp Society to commission a new work for violin and harp by acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. Crimson released its self-titled album in 2015 a second album in 2018, featuring works they have commissioned. Jaymee’s performances with her Crimson duo and Better than One duo (with harpist Emily Mitchell) have been featured at several American Harp Society (AHS) national conferences (New York City, 2012; New Orleans, 2014; Atlanta, 2016) and the 2017 World Harp Congress in Hong Kong. She has also performed throughout the Dallas‐Fort Worth area, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Colorado, in Mexico, the Czech Republic and Russia. Jaymee has performed under the direction of several notable conductors, including Jaap van Zweden (Dallas Symphony Orchestra), Roger Nierenberg (Music Paradigm), David Syrus (Royal Opera), and David Stern (Crested Butte Music Festival). Her recordings include features with the Bloomington Pops Orchestra, Daniel Narducci, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, and James Boldin; she has joined several notable musicians on stage, including Johnny Mathis, Ben Folds, and the Canadian Tenors. Jaymee regularly writes for The Harp Column and has published two books: The Legend of Henriette Renié and One Stone to the Building: Henriette Renié’s Life Through Her Works for Harp, and recently had her article about Henriette Renié accepted by the New Grove Dictionary of Music. A respected masterclass teacher, Dr. Haefner recently taught a class at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales and taught classes at Virginia Harp Center, and holds an annual masterclass at UNT. She presented lectures for the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam (2008) and Sydney (2014) and has led workshops for the American Harp Society in Minnesota (2017), New Orleans (2014), and Utah (2009). Dr. Haefner chaired the 2011 AHS Institute and currently serves as the Treasurer for the WHC, board member of the American Harp Society, Inc. Foundation, and serves on the American Harp Journal editorial board. Her ensemble (UNT HarpBeats) was featured in the 2018 Lyon & Healy Summer Concert Series in Chicago and were showcased at the World Harp Congress Hong Kong (2017. Her harp ensemble will be featured at the upcoming World Harp Congress (Wales) in 2020. She has served on the jury for the Italy Harp Competition, the Lyon & Healy Awards, and will adjudicate 2018 Hong Kong International Harp Competition alongside Skaila Kanga and Isabell Perrin. When she isn’t on stage, Dr. Haefner enjoys outdoor photography, making wire-wrapped jewelry and trains in karate with her son; she earned her first-degree black belt in 2015.
Credit: Luke Mislinski Photography
by Todd Giles
Mozart: Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C Major, K. 299 (1778)
Mozart was not a big fan of the flute; indeed, he only wrote three concertos for the instrument, including the Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra, the latter of which is one of only two double concertos written by the composer, the other being the Piano Concerto No. 10 in E-Flat major, written one year later. However Mozart felt about the flute, the Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra has since become one of the most popular double concertos in the repertoire. Written in the spring of 1778 during an extended stay in Paris as a commission for a wealthy patron and his daughter, this unusual concerto likewise brings to the foreground an instrument that was not yet taken seriously as an orchestral family member at the time—the harp, or “plucked piano.” Considering Mozart wrote no other works for the harp, we can assume his taste for the instrument was even less favorable than that of the flute. Although certainly a tenuous paring in Mozart’s day, the flute-harp repertoire grew quite rapidly in the 19th century, especially for unaccompanied duo. Mozart not only had his patrons in mind when penning the score, he also had contemporary French tastes in mind as well, as seen in the concerto’s similarity to the popular Sinfonia Concertante of the time, which combined both the concerto and symphony genres by having one or more solo instruments in conversation with and a part of the orchestra. Today, the concerto is often performed by chamber ensembles as a way to highlight their own flutists and harpists, as is the case tonight as we feature WFSO regulars Pam Youngblood and Jaymee Haefner.
Johann Strauss II & Joseph Strauss: Pizzicato Polka for Orchestra (1870)
Born in Vienna thirty-four years after the passing of Mozart, Johann Strauss II took the Austrian capital by storm with his prolific output of over 500 dance pieces, as well as 18 light operas and ballets. Following in his namesake’s footsteps—Johann Strauss, Sr.—the eldest Strauss son raised the light, danceable music of the late 19th century Hapsburg Empire to new heights of elegance with works such as the Blue Danube, Emperor, and Vienna Blood waltzes. With his younger brother, Josef (1827–1880), Johann, Jr. wrote the three-minute Pizzicato Polka for one of their concert tours of Russia in 1869. As a musical form, the polka first appeared in Prague in 1837, making its way to the capital city two years later. The Pizzicato Polka is scored for strings and glockenspiel, a German percussion instrument similar to the xylophone. As the title indicates, this short dance is performed entirely on plucked strings, harkening back to Mozart’s harp above. This unusual polka quickly gained popularity, especially in Italy, where Strauss included it on the program for all of his tours.
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (1884-1885)
Similar to Czech composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak’s Romantic musical nationalisms, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) also worked outside the European classical tradition by embracing the warmth and melodies of the folk traditions of his native land. Best known for the Piano Concerto in A minor (1868), as well as his Peer Gynt Suite (1875), Grieg also wrote some of the most endearing short works for orchestra in the late Romantic period. One such work is From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, named after Norwegian-born Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754). The work, originally scored for Grieg’s favored instrument, the piano, was composed in celebration of the bicentenary of Holberg’s birth in 1884. The Holberg Suite is an example of what in the early 20th century would become known as Neoclassism, a reactionary style which embraced the more melodic musical tastes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Grieg’s nostalgic backward glance takes the form a five-movement dance suite intended to call to mind the “olden style” of the late Baroque/early Classical periods of Holberg’s day. As is the case with Neoclassicism, Grieg’s own time period and personal style meld together with the earlier forms and sounds of the work’s dance movements, such as the Praeludium, Sarabande, and Rigaudon.