About Symphony Orchestra

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music has a longstanding international reputation for musical excellence. The school is recognized for its eminence in musical artistry, education and community service. Serving more than 450 majors from the United States and 15 countries, the school maintains a strongly diverse student population.

The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is a study in international relations as students from across the globe come together for one purpose—music. With an intense performance schedule covering classical to pop musical styles and drawing both students and guest artists from around the globe, the Symphony truly is bringing the world to Mississippi.


95th season







The 95th season of The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is upon us. It is always exciting to plan a new season, especially one that contains concerts that feature an outstanding orchestra and world-class soloists from beginning to end.

This coming season is going to be just that.


We open the season with From the New World, featuring two masterful works by Antonin Dvorak, as well as a magnificently beautiful arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner,” written by Southern Miss’ own Luigi Zaninelli. We continue with The Merry Widow, a beautiful and hilarious musical comedy that will feature some of the best young singers to be on the stage anywhere. Our November concert opens with American composer Joan Tower’s title piece Made in America followed by a special appearance of former U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, as she narrates her Pulitzer Prize-winning poem “Native Guard,” with music by Southern Miss Alumnus Joseph Britain. Violinist Alexandre Brussilovsky concludes the concert with the spectacularly beautiful Korngold Violin Concerto. The semester closes with all of the Southern Miss choirs in our traditional Holiday Choral Spectacular.


The spring continues with the excitement of The Prodigal, a concert of two world premieres, one a major choral work and the other a new trombone concerto being played by our own trombone professor, Dr. Ben McIlwain.  Then, Mary Poppins takes flight in late February to delight audiences both young and old.  March brings one of our favorite annual concerts, Future Stars. The season concludes with the major musical star power and magnificent voice of Deborah Voigt, the world’s leading dramatic soprano.  Ms. Voigt is one of the world’s most sought-after vocal soloist. She appears in major opera houses all over the world, and we are very fortunate to have her help us end our 95th season.

This is a “Don’t Miss Season!”


Come join us at the symphony, opera and musical theatre




Jay Dean

Music Director




The Symphony Orchestra Season is made passible in part by a grant from Partners for the Arts.



2014-15 BROCHURE CREATIVE TEAM: ART DIRECTION Mike Lopinto; PHOTOGRAPHY Danny Rawls; MODELS Jason Daniel, Grace Claire Cordes, Jason Waterfalls, Haley Bryant, Molly Hatch, Lauren Rainey; MAKEUP Tammy Mansfield; PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Aaron Strum










800.844.8425 or 601.266.5418



Southern Miss Ticket Office

Pat Ferlise Center

West Fourth Street and Golden Eagle Avenue






2 October 7:30 p.m.

Bennett Auditorium

featuring Amit Peled, cello


Key/Zaninelli   “The Star Spangled Banner”


Dvorak         Symphony No.9, Op.95


Dvorak         Cello Concerto, Op.104

                        Amit Peled, cello


Both the Symphony No. 9 in E minor (From the New World) and the Cello Concerto in B minor were composed by Antonín Dvorák

while he was living in the United States. These masterpieces are his most popular orchestral works.


Amit Peled is an Israeli cellist of profound artistry. He is acclaimed as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today. Having performed as soloist with many orchestras and in the world’s major concert halls, he is a frequent guest artist at prestigious music festivals, as well as television and radio stations throughout the world. Mr. Peled is a professor at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.


Born in New Jersey, Luigi Zaninelli began his career as a jazz pianist at the age of 12. Both a student and an instructor at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he was appointed composer-in-residence at Southern Miss from 1973 until 2009. He has won numerous awards for his music, including three Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awards. One of his 300 published works is his very touching arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which is dedicated to soldiers who fell at the Battle of Anzio in1944.


This year (2014) marks the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner as well as the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Anzio.





23 October 7:30 p.m.

Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium

 A Southern Opera and

Musical Theatre Company Production


The Merry Widow is a beautiful and hilarious operetta

by Franz Lehár that takes place in Paris and tells the story of  Hannah Glawari, a very wealthy widow, Count Danilo Danilovitsch, and many other comical aristocrats from the imaginary country of Pontevedro.  Their goal is to keep her money in their country by finding her just the right husband.


This very funny operetta has enjoyed extraordinary international success since its 1905 premiere in Vienna and continues to be a favorite all over the world. Well-known musical numbers from the score include the “Vilja Song,” “You’ll Find Me at Maxim’s” and the “Merry Widow Waltz.”


 Join the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company for their wonderful fall production.




6 November 7:30 p.m.

Bennett Auditorium

Featuring Natasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate

and Alexandre Brussilovksy, violin


Tower            Made in America



Trethewey/Britain                Native Guard

Natasha Trethewey, narrator


Korngold   Violin Concerto, Op.35

Alexandre Brussilovsky, violin


One of the most successful female composers of all time, Joan Tower is a

Grammy Award-winning contemporary American composer, concert pianist and conductor. Her compositions have been performed around the world.  Made in America is a fantasy on “America the Beautiful,” and its orchestration depicts the color and landscape of the country. It has been performed in all 50 states.


Governor Phil Bryant declared 2014 as the Year of the Creative Economy. To join in this celebration, we invited Mississippi artists Natasha Trethewey and Joseph Britain to collaborate on a work for narrator and orchestra called Native Guard, based on her poem by the same name that received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007. Trethewey was born in 1966, in Gulfport, Mississippi. In 2012, she was named as both the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi and the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress. In 2013, she was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate for a second term.

Mississippi composer and arranger Joseph Britain continues to have strong ties to

our state through his musical compositions, arrangements and performances.


Erich Korngold was born in what is now Czech Republic, but in 1943, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Being of Jewish descent, the year 1945 was an important turning point in his life.  During World War II, he had vowed to give up composing anything other than film music until Adolf Hitler had been defeated. With the end of the war, he retired from films to concentrate on concert music.

His Violin Concerto was the first work that Korngold wrote after the war.

It was premiered in 1947 by Jascha Heifetz and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.


Born in the Ukraine, Alexandre Brussilovsky completed his musical education at the Moscow Conservatoire. He has won top prizes at international competitions, including the Grand Prix at the International Prague Competition and the Grand Prix

and Albert Roussel Special Prize at the Jacques Thibaud Competition.

He is a well-known international soloist, chamber music performer and teacher,

and participates in numerous festivals both in the U.S. and Europe.





2 and 4 December 7:30 p.m.

Main St. Baptist Church


The perfect holiday gift for friends and families!


Two performances will herald the holiday season in grand style as the combined choirs of Southern Miss and the community join the Symphony Orchestra for a wonderful evening of yuletide favorites.


This event sells out quickly, so order your tickets now!




12 February 7:30 p.m.

Main St. Baptist Church


Wilberg     Prodigal  (World Premiere)

                                    Greg Fuller, conductor


Nazaykinskaya     Concerto for Trombone- (World Premiere)

Polina Nazaykinskaya, guest conductor

Ben McIlwain, trombone


This exciting and rare program features two world premieres! 

Composer, arranger and conductor Mack Wilberg is the current music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  He has emerged as one of the pre-eminent composers and arrangers of choral music in the United States today, and his sublime arrangements and compositions are performed around the world.


Russian-born composer Polina Nazaykinskaya holds degrees from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. She has had her works performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Her music has garnered numerous national and international awards and received rave reviews in the press, including The New York Times. In 2010, Sony-Music Russia released a CD that featured her symphonic poem Winter Bells.




26 - 28 February 7:30 p.m.; 1 March, 2 p.m.

Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium


The Southern Miss School of Music in partnership with Forrest General Hospital is pleased to present the smash hit

Broadway musical Mary Poppins, co-created by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh.


The cherished Disney film has been reimagined into a spectacular new musical, with a book by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes.

Featuring all of the unforgettable songs of the beloved movie, plus brand-new breathtaking musical numbers and spectacular effects, Mary Poppins takes both children and adults alike on a magical musical adventure where “anything can happen if you let it.”


Enjoy the grand reopening of the Mannoni Performing Arts Center with the hit Broadway show that is perfect for all ages and has amassed more than 40 theatre awards from around the globe.


It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


Mary Poppins is available only as part of the season ticket package. Individual tickets go on sale in November 2014.





5 March 7:30 p.m.

Bennett Auditorium


Students in the Southern Miss School of Music annually compete in the William T. Gower Competition. The winners appear as soloists with the orchestra in one of our most popular evenings of music. This year, winners will be selected from the piano, string and voice divisions.


Join us for a magical evening of outstanding students soloists, wonderful music and the incomparable Symphony Orchestra.






25 April 7:30 p.m.

Bennett Auditorium


Wagner Prelude to Die Meistersinger


Strauss    Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome


Ms. Voigt’s program will include works by Strauss, Wagner

and popular Broadway selections.


World premiere of orchestral version

Moore   Three American Songs


Deborah Voigt is America’s favorite dramatic sopranos. Through her performances and television appearances, she is known for the singular power and beauty of her voice, her versatility, and her captivating stage presence. Internationally revered for her performances, Voigt has given definitive performances of iconic roles in the operas of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.

She is also noted for Italian operatic roles such as Tosca and Aïda.


With an extensive discography, and multiple Billboard bestsellers, Voigt is known for her extraordinary ability to soar effortlessly and luminously above an orchestra with a rich, lustrous voice. Her recording of Strauss’s Egyptian Helen was named one of the best CDs of the year by Opera News.  Ms. Voigt is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003. In 2007, she won an Opera News Award

for distinguished achievement.