By Thesanica M. Chan

Antelope Valley College Presents 'Autumn Anniversaries'

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fans of live music and ballet, the Antelope Valley College has an upcoming treat in store for you. As part of its 2013-2014 Season, ‘Autumn Anniversaries’ will take place on October 19th, at 8:00pm, with a preview at 7:00pm provided by conductor David Newby, Professor of Music & the Artistic Director of the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale. ‘Autumn Anniversaries’ will be a rare sort of performance for a community college. The program will celebrate two kinds of anniversaries – birthdays and a premiere. The community college orchestra is comprised of members from the AVC student body, the surrounding community, and professionals. With such a well-composed (no pun intended) body of musicians, the music is certain to be spectacular.

The first piece of the night, the Prelude to the opera Die Meistersinger (in English, The Master-Singers), serves to highlight German composer Richard Wagner’s 200th anniversary of his birthday. “It’s a very majestic piece audiences will really like,” said David. “Well-written and stirring.” Wagner wrote and composed the opera himself. To this day, the entire Die Meistersinger is counted as one of the longest of operas around the world, usually four and a half hours long when performed.

The second selection is a cello concerto to honor the composer Witold Lutoslawski on his 100th birthday. Not very many are familiar with Lutoslawski. “He was a very modern composer, born in Poland in 1913,” explained David. He is certain that audiences are sure to find this one interesting. “It’s a piece that combines notated music with a little bit of chance music. There are some things left just a little bit to chance for the orchestra.” David also describes this piece as “colorful.” “It has some element of free form. It is a piece that will make Stravinsky sound traditional because Lutoslawski is so modern and progressive. There’s kind of a dialogue between the cello and the orchestra. The orchestra even seems to reject the cello from time to time. So you’ll see them sort of fighting back and forth.”

As hinted in David’s earlier words, Igor Stravinsky will be a part of this night. The third and final piece for the night is the center of the program: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. This is truly what will make this night a special one, as David indicates that AVC’s Dance Ensemble will be performing ballet choreography set to The Rite of Spring. Originally, Stravinsky’s piece premiered in 1913, one hundred years ago in Paris, France. It is infamous for causing a riot to break out in the audience. “The riot was partly in response to the music, which was very innovative. Ballet repertoire tends to be very romantic. This was a little bit more primitive, a little bit more savage. The riot was also partly in response to the choreography of the dance. This is the kind of piece that launched the beginning of modern dance.” Though we now accept and understand modern dance, David mentions that this wasn’t always the case. “It was a pretty daring thing to put in front of the Parisian ballet lovers in 1913.”

In general, The Rite of Spring is performed all the time by professional groups, but not done very often by smaller groups. “It’s a very difficult piece of music to perform,” David remarks. “It’s even more unusual to have it performed with dance. That doesn’t happen very often. So, a live performance of The Rite of Spring with dance is something that a community like the Antelope Valley sees less than once in a blue moon.” Dance fans, take note: the ballet choreography for The Rite of Spring is by Cindy Littlefield and the performance will be by the AV College Dance Ensemble.

For those that are interested in learning even more than what’s written here, come early at 7pm for the “Curtain Raiser Preview,” Mr. Newby comes out to talk to members of the audience about the night’s selection of music and composers.

I hope you come out and enjoy the live performance of ‘Autumn Anniversaries’ on the 19th!



The Antelope Valley College (AVC) Performing Arts Theatre is located at 3041 West Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536. Buy tickets in three ways: online at; over the phone with the box office at 661-722-6580; or in person at the box office, which is open two hours prior to each performance. More information concerning ticket purchase options can be found at


November 22nd & 23rd – ‘Requiem for President Kennedy’
Watch MyAV for an upcoming piece about this! David Newby’s own composition, Dealey Plaza, inspired by JFK’s assassination, will be making its debut on November 22nd, exactly fifty years to the day of the historical event!

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