concert band on stage with conductor in center, all musicians in black

GVSU Symphony Orchestra releases recording of rare Werner concerto

The GVSU Symphony Orchestra released a digital recording of a concerto that previously had been only available for listening in the Czech Republic.

Under the direction of Joel Schut, the orchestra recorded Vladimir Werner’s "Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra." The piece was originally recorded in 1984 on LP (long-playing record) in Brno, Czech Republic, by the Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra. Before Grand Valley’s digital recording, the only way to listen to the concerto was at a Czech library.

woman preparing to play obeo while orchestra plays in background
While on sabbatical, Marlen Vavrikova, professor of oboe, studied several oboe concertos written in the Czech Republic and discovered this rare Werner work.

Schut said the project stemmed from Marlen Vavrikova's sabbatical research in that country . While studying scores of several oboe concertos written in Brno, Vavrikova, professor of oboe, found Werner’s hidden gem and worked to share his talent. Vavrikova took the music to Schut and they created a recording plan.

“It is a beautiful blend of faculty research and faculty collaboration that creates opportunities and brings research to life,” Vavrikova said. 

They received a Catalyst Grant from the College of Education and Community Innovation to fund the recording, Schut said.

The GVSU Orchestra performed the concerto in November in the Louis Armstrong Theatre at the Haas Center for Performing Arts. The orchestra collaborated with many Grand Valley faculty, including Vavrikova (oboe soloist), Letitia Jap (violin), Pablo Mahave-Veglia (cello), Greg Secor (percussion), Andrew Lenhart (piano) and Richard Britsch (horn). Schut said the recording was completed two days after its premiere by Blue Griffin Recording.

cover art of digital recording of Vladimir Werner’s "Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra" with fall scene of house and trees in fall colors
Prior to recording the concerto, this piece was only available in LP at Czech libraries.

"It was an opportunity for students to experience what it is like to go into a professional recording studio," Schut said.

The project also gained the attention of Mark Hoffman, CECI associate dean, who established the Global Awareness Collaborative Colloquium. 

Sponsored by CECI, the colloquium features various presentations about a country each semester. Czechia and the orchestra's performance were highlighted in the fall semester.

“I think one of the successes of the project was that it was collaborative in many ways," Schut said.

– Samantha Drougel is a student writer for University Communications. Drougel is from Monroe and is a double major in film and video production, and journalism, broadcasting and digital media.


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