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Mozart's largest composition to be performed during Fall Arts Celebration

  • Photo of The Grand Partita sheet music.

Posted on September 05, 2017

In the time of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, serenades were considered “dinner music” to be performed only at upper-class parties, military events, court functions and other social events. Mozart’s “Serenade in B-Flat Major, KV 361, the Grand Partita” transcended that limiting category to become one of the composer’s most beloved compositions, and the wind band genre’s earliest masterpiece.

The piece will be performed during this year’s Fall Arts Celebration music event, “The Timeless Genius of Mozart: The Grand Partita, KV 361,” which will take place September 11, at 7:30 p.m., in Louis Armstrong Theatre, located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Center for Performing Arts. The performance will be preceded by a carillon concert on the Cook Carillon Tower at 7:10 p.m. featuring Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, university carillonneur.

Danny Phipps, Music, Theater and Dance Department chair, said that the composition is Mozart’s largest, and arguably most innovative instrumental work, and employs a full range of wind instruments throughout the score.

"Many musicians and critics consider the 'Grand Partita' to be the greatest example of wind music ever written, and one of the finest works in all the chamber music repertoire," Phipps explained. "Mozart wrote the piece shortly after he arrived in Vienna in 1781 and, from that point forward, the wind bind genre was essentially born."

For this performance, Lowell Graham, former commander and conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band, Washington, D.C., will return to West Michigan to lead an ensemble comprised of Grand Valley faculty and staff, including Phipps (bassoon), Arthur Campbell (clarinet), Marlen Vavrikova (oboe), Sarah Constable (oboe), and three alumni from Campbell's clarinet studio. Members of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra will also join the ensemble.

For more information about Fall Arts Celebration, visit