BU Today

Arts & Entertainment + Campus Life

Inaugural concert includes special tribute composed for President Brown

BU Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus perform in Carnegie Hall

Boston University alumni, parents, and students from the tri-state area gathered at New York’s Carnegie Hall Tuesday night to hear performances by the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus in honor of the inauguration of Robert A. Brown as the University’s 10th president. The Symphony Orchestra played Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and the Symphonic Chorus sang Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, a cantata for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra.

Prior to the concert, trustees and alumni met at a reception in Carnegie Hall’s Rohatyn Room, where Brown welcomed his guests and spoke briefly about his vision for Boston University.

“Boston University is a great university in a great city,” said Brown, whose formal inauguration will take place on April 27. “And it is more engaged in the city than any other university.”

When the audience had settled into their seats, Walt Meissner, dean ad interim of the College of Fine Arts, and trustee Elaine Kirshenbaum (CAS’71, SED’72, SPH’79) announced the world premiere of “Inaugural Celebration,” a short piece for three trumpets and three trombones written by Theodore Antoniou, a CFA professor of music, for this inaugural occasion. The echoing, heraldic work was played by musicians positioned to surround the audience, including three horn players on the third tier of the balcony.

Vaughan Williams’ Fourth Symphony, a grand, intense, and roiling work, was conducted by David Hoose, a CFA professor of music and director of orchestral activities at the school of music. Dona nobis pacem, said to be Vaughan Williams’ expression of hope for a more peaceful world, was conducted by Ann Howard Jones, a CFA professor of music and the school’s director of choral activities. Soloists were soprano Michelle Johnson (CFA’07), an Opera Institute student, and bass-baritone Simon Estes, a CFA professor of music. Estes has performed extensively with major international opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Click the arrow above to replay the slide show of rehearsals and the concert.