Interim President Robert Glidden will be guest conductor of the wind ensemble at the annual Bandfest on Nov. 20. The title of this year’s Bandfest is “Garden of Dreams.”
The wind orchestra, wind ensemble and marching band will play at the concert.
For the wind ensemble, Glidden will conduct Gustav Holst’s “First Suite in E flat,” a piece he said is a 100-year-old “staple in wind orchestra.”
“It’s a piece a lot of younger wind ensemble players today might not have played and yet, it has been such a staple in the literature — it’s a piece they ought to know,” Glidden said.
Glidden was chosen to be a guest conductor because of his background in music as a woodwind player and experience in education, some of which includes three post-secondary degrees in music from the University of Iowa, sitting professor and dean of the School of Music at Florida State University for 15 years (1979-1991) and three years as executive director of the National Association of Schools and Music and National Association of Schools of Art in Washington (1972-1975), he said.
“It’s a great pleasure for me because I love (conducting) and I don’t have much opportunity to do so any longer,” Glidden said.
Glidden last conducted regularly in 1969 as part of the music faculty at Indiana State University and hasn’t had any experience guest conducting since his retirement as president of Ohio State University in 2004.
As the current interim president of Cal Poly, Glidden said he doesn’t feel extra pressure to perform well because he understands the need to strive for perfection.
“No matter how much rehearsal time you have, you always wish you had more,” Glidden said. “Good enough is never good enough. There are always things you’d like to polish and refine so that’s the challenge as a guest conductor because you only have so much time with the group and they don’t really know you and so forth but I don’t feel any pressure as president.”
Glidden had the new director of bands, Andrew McMahan, choose the three movement piece “First Suite in E flat” for him, he said.
McMahan chose the piece because it is an “incredibly important” piece of music with substance that allows the conductor to put his or her mark on it, he said.
“It has retained its popularity and significance in the repertoire,” McMahan said. “It’s a standard — a major work.”
When programming music, one main piece is picked first, McMahan said. For the upcoming Bandfest concert, the 40-minute, five movement piece by David Maslanka called “A Child’s Garden of Dreams” is the major work.
“It’s a work that every college musician would love to do and not everyone can do it,” McMahan said. “It’s a very extensive piece so I chose that because I thought it was a great work of music to be performed and I wanted the students here to have the experience doing that.”
Once “A Child’s Garden of Dreams” was picked as the main work of the concert, all of the other songs fell into place.
“Everything has the same overarching theme of dreams or fantasies or aspirations,” McMahan said.
Other pieces to be performed at Bandfest include Carl Orff’s score “Carmina Burana” by both the wind orchestra and wind ensemble, Rolf Rudin’s “The Dream of Oenghus,” Keith Gates’ “Icarus and Daedalus” and Samuel Adler’s ”A Little Night and Day Music.” The marching band will perform favorites and stage versions of songs from field shows.
Associate director of bands Christopher Woodruff will conduct “The Dream of Oenghus,” “A Little Night and Day Music” and “Icarus and Daedalus.”
Woodruff and McMahan both agree it is important for students to get a different perspective when performing their music in the form of a guest conductor.
“Any conductor has a different interpretation, voice, opinion of any given piece of music so the value of having a guest conductor is quite high regardless of who it is,” McMahan said.
Having someone as esteemed as Glidden as guest conductor shows the importance of the liberal arts, Woodruff said.
“It’s a great way for him to reach into the (College of Liberal Arts) and the music department,” Woodruff said. “We’re really excited about that.”
Bandfest will be held in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 and $11 for students and can be purchased at the PAC box office.