WVU Orchestra to present 'Black Bear Awakens'

Special to the News Tribune
Matthew Jackfert

KEYSER - The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra will present an encore of its season opening performance as the Highland Arts Unlimited season continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Church-McKee Arts Center on the campus of Potomac State College.

The 70-member WVU Symphony Orchestra is directed by Dr. Mitchell Arnold. The upcoming concert features Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Matthew Jackfert’s “The Black Bear Awakens,” with Mikylah Myers, WVU’s professor of violin, as soloist, and Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight.”

Jackfert, WVU alum and WV Public Radio host, was inspired by the hibernation cycle of West Virginia’s black bear, specifically its winter torpor and its awakening to the new spring season, when he composed this concertino for violin and orchestra.  He incorporates the folk song “Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair” in the central section of the piece.

Jackfert is a native of Charleston. He completed his undergraduate composition degree at WVU, as well as his undergraduate Chinese degree. He also finished a Master’s in Composition at the University of Texas in Austin, while also serving as director of the extracurricular choir, Collegium Musicum.

Jackfert currently works in Charleston as a composer and radio host with West Virginia Public Broadcasting in addition to his freelance work, and he performs, writes, and arranges for the Appalachian-rock group, The Company Stores.

Jackfert has written for concert music, radio, TV, film and videogames. He has had his music performed by several ensembles of different sizes and instrumentations including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, and the Montclaire String Quartet.

Jackfert has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition as well as on the national radio program Performance Today.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance at the Candlewyck Inn, Ace Hardware, and Reed's Drug Store (Keyser); Allegany Arts Council, (Cumberland); Anderson's Corner (Romney) or online at www.eventbrite.com

Admission for the upcoming concert is free to HAU members and Potomac State College students. Area students under 18 are admitted free and young children are admitted free with a paying adult.

Special requirements can be arranged for persons with disabilities with advanced notice, by calling 304-788-9465.

For tickets and information please call 304-788-3066 or 304-788-9465.

Highland Arts is an all-volunteer organization that depends on individual memberships and, if approved, financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and financial support from the Mineral County Board of Education, with generous in-kind support from WVU-Potomac State.

Masks are required for this performance. If the COVID-19 virus and the variants become more widespread or if the Church-McKee Auditorium is unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols or other unforeseen reasons some of these programs may be postponed.  Those holding season passes will be reimbursed accordingly.