The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra will offer a festive springtime Family Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall, with Provost Ralph Hexter appearing as the narrator in Sergei Prokofiev’s popular piece “Peter and the Wolf.”
Also on the hourlong program will be two winners of this year’s UC Davis Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition:
* Concertmaster Shawyon Malek, a junior, performing the third and final movement (Molto moderato e maestoso) from the Third Violin Concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns, and
* Flutists Chris Brown, a senior, and Abby Green, a junior, performing the “Rigoletto Fantasie” by Franz and Karl Doppler, as orchestrated by Estonian composer Risto Keinanen.
This year’s family concert is being held at an earlier hour — 3 p.m. — in hopes that families will bring young children. Tickets are also “family priced” at $12 general, $6 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787. Seating will be unreserved.
A few free tickets for the family concert also will be distributed Thursday afternoon at the UC Davis music department’s booth at the Celebrate Davis! festival in Community Park.
Hexter came to UCD in January 2011 as provost and executive vice chancellor. Previously, he was president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. He also served as a classics professor at Yale, where he also stepped in as acting associate dean of the Graduate School for a year; at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also directed the graduate program in comparative literature; and at UC Berkeley, where he became dean of Arts and Humanities and executive dean of the College of Letters and Science.
Hexter enjoys attending concerts at the Mondavi Center when his busy schedule allows.
Conductor Christian Baldini said, “Ralph is a musician and a great music lover. He cares so much about culture and music, and is beloved on campus. We are happy that he is excited to come on stage with us.”
“Peter and the Wolf” dates from 1936; Prokofiev wrote both the music and the text, reportedly in just four days. While the piece has been recorded dozens of times and is a popular selection at family concerts and similar events, the music is by no means “kids’ stuff.”
“It is music that kids can relate to, but it is also actually very hard for the strings in particular; they need to be careful with articulation. It is very detailed,” Baldini said.
Baldini added that his sons — Dante, 3 1/2, and Lorenzo, 1 1/2, will attend the performance with their mother, Matilda Hofman, who recently conducted a Mondavi Center performance by the Empyrean Ensemble.
“This will be the first time our kids will be seeing an actual performance by the UC Davis Symphony; of course, they’ve been to a number of rehearsals by now.” This will also be the first time that Baldini has conducted a performance of “Peter and the Wolf.”
After his performance of a movement from the Saint-Saëns concerto at the Family Concert, Malek will participate this summer in the Aldeburgh Festival in the United Kingdom, founded in 1948 by composer Benjamin Britten. Malek will be a member of the Aldeburg World Orchestra, which will perform at the London 2012 Festival, in conjunction with the Summer Olympic Games in London.
This is Malek’s third year as concertmaster of the UCD Symphony Orchestra.
The year 2013 — which will mark the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth — also is expected to include several special concerts and events focusing on his musical career.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at email@example.com or (530) 747-8055.