UCR Orchestra Presents ‘Heroes and Anti-Heroes’ Concerts Feb. 7–8

Specially featured is Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” with narration by UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox

ruth charloff

Ruth Charloff will conduct the UCR Orchestra in a concert with the theme “Heroes and Anti-Heroes.”

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The UC Riverside Orchestra will present a concert, “Heroes and Anti-Heroes” on Saturday, Feb. 7, and Sunday, Feb. 8, that will feature a performance of Aaron Copland’s stirring “Lincoln Portrait” with narration by UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.

Performance times are 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 and 3 p.m. Feb. 8 in the University Theatre. Tickets are $10 general, $8 for students and seniors, and $6 for children, and may be purchased at the University Theatre Fine Arts Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and one hour before each concert, or online from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. Parking is $5.50 in Lot 6. Permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

The concert features music portraying heroes and anti-heroes, both from real life and from film, ballet, opera and folklore, said conductor Ruth Charloff. The orchestra will perform Prokofiev’s witty “Lt. Kije Suite,”  his film score from a 1930s Russian comedy about an imaginary military hero dreamed up by mistake; Copland’s vignette of African-American folk hero John Henry; Kodaly’s “Háry János,” about a would-be hero with an oversized imagination; and excerpts from Copland’s ballet “Billy the Kid” and Bizet’s sizzling “Carmen.”

Specially featured is Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” a 15-minute composition that includes excerpts from speeches and letters of Abraham Lincoln, among them the Gettysburg Address.

Kim Wilcox

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox

Charloff said she invited Chancellor Wilcox to narrate the piece because of his special interests in both music and Lincoln, and because of his abilities as a speaker.  “The narrator has to deliver Lincoln’s inspiring words and also be aware of the music, since Copland composed his musical portrait to coordinate with Lincoln’s words in such a moving way,” she said.

An impressive list of public figures and actors have narrated “Lincoln Portrait” over the years, including Coretta Scott King, astronaut Neil Armstrong, journalist Walter Cronkite, athlete Julius Irving, poet Carl Sandburg, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and actors Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones and Tom Hanks.

Copland composed “Lincoln Portrait” in 1942 at the request of conductor Andre Kostelanetz as part of a World War II patriotic war effort to create musical portraits of eminent Americans. The music was inspired by folk songs of the period, such as “Camptown Races” and “Springfield Mountain,” and words from the writings of the nation’s 16th president.

The piece was first performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on May 14, 1942, barely five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Ruth Charloff
Tel: (951) 827-5412
E-mail: ruth.charloff@ucr.edu

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