For over 80 years, the Humboldt Symphony has been a large ensemble course offering in the HSU music department. A full symphonic orchestra, the Humboldt Symphony consists of four instrumental sections: orchestral strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Students must pass an audition in order to participate, and both music majors and non-majors are welcomed. The orchestra also welcomes community members to play in sections where there is a need, but HSU students comprise about 80% of the group in a typical semester.
The Humboldt Symphony, currently conducted by Dr. Paul Cummings, performs two concerts per semester, and often features faculty soloists and other guest artists on its programs. Fulkerson Recital Hall is home to most concerts, but the orchestra has also performed off campus in recent years, including a concert in Eureka’s Arkley Center for the Performing Arts in November, 2009.
Repertoire is drawn from the immense variety of literature composed for orchestra, including music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern eras. Occasionally, works with a reduced or specialized instrumentation are performed. These include pieces for chamber orchestra such as Stravinsky’s Petite Tango, performed in spring, 2010, and Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da camera, performed in fall, 2009 . On almost every concert, a piece for string orchestra is played. Representative examples include the Don Quixote Suite by Georg Phillip Telemann and the second and third movements of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite #1.
Recent programs by the Humboldt Symphony have featured the following works:
- Beethoven – Symphony #1
- Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain
- Schubert – Symphony #8
- Dvorak – Slavonic Dance, opus 46 #8
- Mahler – Blumine
- Elgar – “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations
- Copland – Hoe Down from Rodeo