This year, the high point will be even higher, for two reasons. First, the program features Aaron Copland's deeply beloved Appalachian Spring in its original chamber music version for thirteen instruments, plus Dvorak's endlessly charming Serenade for Winds. Second, the players include some of the very best instrumentalists at the school: the superlative violinists Stephen Shipps and Aaron Berofsky, viola legend Yizhak Schotten, the fabulous flutist Amy Porter, the exquisite oboist Nancy Ambrose King, the brilliant bassoonist Richard Beene, and the soulful clarinetist Fred Ormand.
While these performers are well known to Ann Arbor audiences, their conductor, Christopher Kendall, is almost a complete unknown locally. Appointed music school dean in August after a successful career as an administrator and conductor in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, Kendall has yet to perform in Ann Arbor. It's one more way in which the opening concert of the 125th season will be the beginning of a new era for the School of Music.
[Review published September 2005]