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Robertson Cello Concerto to be performed at Feb. 21 BYU Philharmonic concert

First performance since its premiere 50 years ago features faculty cellist Julie Bevan

Faculty cellist Julie Bevan will perform the Cello Concerto by Utah composer Leroy Robertson—the first time the work has been performed with orchestra since its premiere 50 years ago—with Brigham Young University’s Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kory Katseanes on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.

Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 422-4322 or at performances.byu.edu for $9 or $6 with a BYU or student ID.

The concerto—which Robertson began work on in 1954 immediately after finishing the Oratorio from “The Book of Mormon,” perhaps his most well-known work—was first performed by eminent cellist Zara Nelsova with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Maurice Abravanel in 1956.

Cellist Julie Bevan recently discovered a reference to the Cello Concerto in Marion Robertson Wilson’s biography of her father. “Although I knew he had written concertos for piano and violin, it was the first I had heard of a cello concerto,” she said.

“When I played the work for Marion a few weeks ago, she told me that it was one of the first pieces where he set the orchestration on paper before writing the piano reduction, in the composition style of Mozart,” she said. “The work has never been published, and has been housed in the Robertson Collection at the University of Utah.”

“It is a very interesting piece, and I thought it deserved to be resurrected,” she said.

Leroy Robertson was chairman of the BYU Music Department from 1925 to 1948.

“The work is in three movements with interesting themes and orchestration,” said Bevan, a BYU alumnus who went on to the University of Southern California, where she received a master of music degree as a member of the master class of legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.

A widely experienced performer, Bevan has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner and was principal cellist of the Chicago String Ensemble for 15 seasons, appearing frequently as soloist.

The orchestra will also perform Overture to “Die Meistersinger” by Wagner and Symphony No. 1, “The Titan,” by Mahler during the Feb. 21 performance.

“Kory [Katseanes] has been very supportive in programming the Cello Concerto for the BYU Philharmonic,” Bevan said.

The Philharmonic Orchestra is composed of 98 of BYU’s most advanced music students, both graduate and undergraduate.

For more information, contact Kory Katseanes at (801) 422-3331.

Writer: Angela Fischer

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