World Premieres of Works by Conte and De Silva at St. Matthew’s

The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s will perform on Friday.

St. Matthew’s Music Guild will conclude its 2022-2023 season at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 2, with a concert that features The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s and Choir of St. Matthew’s Church under the direction of Dwayne S. Milburn

In addition to the world premieres of commissioned works by David Conte and Dante De Silva, the music of Prokofiev and Vaugh Williams will be featured.

Hymn To Life, a three-movement cantata by San Francisco based composer David Conte was commissioned in memory of long-time Music Guild board member and former president, Fred Doering, who died in late 2020 of glioblastoma.

About the piece, Conte wrote, “I formed in my mind an image of a remarkable person who inspired everyone through his many actions in life, and especially through the grace with which he met his death.

“Each movement deals with an aspect of what I perceived to be both Fred’s character and also the universal experiences and challenges all human beings face. I found poems that express three aspects of human experience: acceptance of death; aspiration in life; and remembrance for those who survive.

Dante De Silva’s Hermitage for Steel Drum and Orchestra will feature steel drum virtuoso Tyler Hunt.

De Silva wrote, “the sound of the steel drum is often used in popular culture to represent a tropical island paradise, but this stereotype undermines the delicate nuance and raw beauty of the instrument. Hermitage treats the steel drum as an important member of the orchestra and utilizes its wide range of timbre and color.”

On the program is Prokofiev’s early orchestral score, Sinfonietta, Op. 5, that was composed in 1904 and revised in 1914 and 1929. It is a brief five-movement work that shares a common musical language with the composer’s better known “Classical” Symphony.

Why “Classical” became a standard and Sinfonietta did not, always baffled Prokofiev. He wrote, “they were written in the same manner…I cannot quite understand why the fates of these two pieces should be so different.”

Rounding out the program will be Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 1925 tone poem, Flos campi (Flower of the Fields). Each of the six brief movements is headed by a verse from the Bible’s Song of Solomon. It features solo viola and a wordless choir, reminiscent of contemporary works by Ravel and Debussy. David Sage will be the solo violist.

A pre-concert presentation, “Liner Notes with Tom Neenan,” begins at 7:10pm and is free and open to the public.

The concert will be at St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Ave., and tickets are $35. Visit or call (310) 573-7422.


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