The Amherst Symphony Orchestra welcomes newly admitted students of the Class of 2018 and celebrates spring with a concert of all-American music. The program opens with Leonard Bernstein's rollicking Overture to Candide, continues with Samuel Barber's moving Adagio for Strings, and closes with perhaps the greatest symphony composed by an American--Charles Ives' Second.
Charles Ives formally studied musical composition at Yale, but pursued a full-time career as a Connecticut insurance executive. Privately he wrote music for the concert hall using European methods but incorporating "native" American musics such as church revivalist hymns, band marches, Stephen Foster ballads and fiddle tunes. His Second Symphony, composed in 1901, did not receive its premiere until fifty years later, in 1951, but its immediate popularity has ensured its place in the repertoire ever since.