Susan Haig to conduct orchestra festival Saturday

Susan Haig to conduct orchestra festival Saturday Vermillion High School students Tori Collins, Jenna Williams and Noelle Harden will join with high school musicians from as far as New Ulm, MN, and Yutan, NE, when Susan Haig conducts the USD Spring Orchestra Festival, Saturday, April 6.

The free concert will be at 5 p.m. in Slagle Hall on the University of South Dakota campus. The 65 high school musicians, from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, will have a full day of music, including sectionals, a conversation with Maestro Haig, a pizza party lunch, and rehearsals beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the College of Fine Arts.

The 5 p.m. concert will feature Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and works by Puccini, Borodin, and Bizet.

The event will culminate with the students attending the special concert presented by America's Shrine to Music Museum, "Eugene Fodor plays 'the Harrison' Stradivarius Violin," at 8 p.m. in Slagle Auditorium.

Through significant underwriting by the museum and the College of Fine Arts, tickets to the concert are provided to the students as part of their participation in the Spring Orchestra Festival.

Haig has been widely acclaimed for her insightful and dynamic interpretations and her ability to get the most out of her orchestras. She assumed the post of music director of the South Dakota Symphony this year. A native of Summit, NJ, Haig received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a master's and doctoral degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

She held a coaching/conducting fellowship with Juliard's American Opera Center and became the first resident staff conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 1988. She has also held assistant conductor positions with the New York City, Santa Fe, and Minnesota opera companies, and was artistic director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Canada before coming to South Dakota.

Haig's leadership of the USD Spring Orchestra Festival, sponsored annually by the department of music, brings the event full circle, as Henry Charles Smith, then conductor of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, conducted the inaugural concert.

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