The Punahou Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Oct. 19, 2012, will feature the orchestral world premiere of “Monteargentario,” by American composer Harvey Schmidt. The community is invited to hear this new arrangement by Martha Mesrobian ’71 Lanzas, a cello instructor at Punahou Music School who adapted works originally written for solo piano.
The orchestra’s annual Fall Concert begins at 7 p.m. in Dillingham Hall on campus. The performance is free and open to the public; seating is unreserved.
Schmidt, best known for composing “The Fantasticks,” which ran off-Broadway from 1960 to 2002, wrote “Monteargentario: Seven Dances for Solo Piano” while living in Tuscany in the 1960s. He would take walks around the Italian countryside and come back to compose a song inspired by what he saw.
When Lanzas heard a rare recording of Schmidt himself playing the pieces, she immediately imagined the suite as an orchestral work. She initially arranged two of the songs, which the symphony performed last fall, and later in 2011 received permission from Schmidt and his representatives to complete all seven new arrangements. The symphony, conducted by Craig Young, will perform the entire suite at the October 19 concert.
Schmidt, who lives in Texas, was pleased with the interest in these early pieces, the quality of Lanzas’ arrangements and the caliber of the Academy students’ performance. Lanzas, who has taught cello at Montague Hall since 2002 and also is a technician in Punahou’s Visual Production Center, looks forward to the world premiere.
“This project would not have come to fruition without the permission of Mr. Schmidt and Craig Young’s encouragement and willingness to program my piece. I am thrilled to work with Craig and the students in the orchestra to bring these songs to light,” she said.
“Mr. Schmidt was surprised and amused that I had found his suite and was interested in it. Compared with much of his work, these songs did not get much attention, and my hope is that the public will now enjoy playing and hearing them more often. Mr. Schmidt is following our progress and looks forward to hearing the recording” of the students’ performance.