Topic: College of Fine Arts

April 2, 2019

Two cellists play together at a past Masterworks concert.
Cellists perform at a past Masterworks concert.

The soaring melody of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” with full chorus and orchestra from Ball State University, will fill the Hilbert Circle Theatre on April 14.

As part of Ball State’s Centennial Celebration, the School of Music will make its debut at the Hilbert at 4 p.m. with a Masterworks concert of orchestral and choral performances, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and several modern works.

The program will begin with the combined choirs’ performance of Jake Runestad’s 2017 piece “Proud Music of the Storm” with lyrics from the poet Walt Whitman. The Ball State Wind Ensemble will then take the stage to perform two pieces.

“Our first piece is an iconic work for wind band entitled ‘Lincolnshire Posy’ by Percy Aldridge Grainger,” said Ball State Director of Bands Thomas Caneva. “It is an important work in our repertoire and considered one of the finest works for band. The second piece, ‘Come Sunday,’ is a ‘praise, shout’ composition for band that was composed last year by Omar Thomas. Ball State was part of the commissioning consortium for the work. This will only be the fourth performance of the piece.”

Following intermission, the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, combined choirs, and soloists will join forces to end the program with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

“The only way to fully appreciate Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is to hear it in person at a beautiful venue like the Hilbert,” said Ryan Hourigan, director of Ball State’s School of Music. “The symphony portrays many moods — dramatic, lively, contemplative, and brooding. In the final movement, strains of ‘Ode to Joy’ start softly and become stronger, first with instruments and then with voices. The music culminates in an explosion of exuberant joy with full voices and instruments.

“We’re thrilled with the opportunity for another audience to hear our world-class students, faculty, and alumni. This concert is an example of how Ball State provides students with authentic, real-world experiences and empowers students, professors, and alumni to ‘fly’!”

Among four soloists, alumnus Ganson Salmon will sing tenor in the concert’s final piece.

“It’s extremely meaningful for me to join my alma mater for these performances,” Salmon said. “My experience at Ball State gave me the foundation I needed to jump out to the opera world. I received superb lessons from Dr. Craig Priebe. I performed in many operas and got a lot of time onstage, and I met my teacher and mentor Joseph Levitt, who teaches me and guides me in my career to this day.

“Ball State gave me everything I needed to take the next step toward a career in opera. So many amazing things have happened to me since then, and to perform with Ball State is a reminder of how far I’ve come.”

To view a trailer and purchase tickets, visit

By Emily Gralak