USD students to perform with orchestra Saxophonist Amanda Leaders and cellist Eric Bliss will be the featured soloists at the USD Symphony Orchestra's concert Monday, Feb. 28. The free concert will be at 8 p.m. in Slagle Auditorium on the USD campus.
Leaders and Bliss are the winners of the most recent concerto competition, open to USD students and held annually in November. Leaders, daughter of Doug and LuAnn Leaders of Hancock, IA, is a graduate student studying with Dr. Christopher Kocher. She previously obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Leaders will play the intricate solo in the first movement of Pierre Max Dubois's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra.
Bliss is the son of Norman and Melanie Bliss of Sioux Falls, and was awarded a bachelor's degree in cello performance from the San Francisco Conservatory prior to attending USD. He studies with Professor Nick Curry and is currently a member of the South Dakota Symphony. Bliss will perform the final movement of Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major.
The orchestra will also play two works by American composers. Johann Heinrich Beck (1856-1924) was born in Cleveland and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1879-82. He then returned to Cleveland and became the most important figure in that city's musical scene into the second decade of the 20th century. He led early orchestras, founded the Beck String Quartet, and wrote numerous works. Though few were published they were played widely, and Beck was known as the "Beethoven of Cleveland."
Fidelis Zitterbart (1845-1936?) was a native of Pittsburgh, and his life story is similar to Beck's. He, too, studied abroad � at the Dresden Conservatory for two years � and was a violinist in both the New York Philharmonic and Theodore Thomas Orchestras. He later returned to his native city where he became an important figure, establishing a conservatory, the Beethoven Society, and conducting the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Socity. He wrote many works, including string quartets and "In the Forge," in which the percussionist beats on steel in recognition of Pittsburgh's steel foundries.