After 26 years as the Director of Bands, H. Robert Reynolds will be retiring from the University of Michigan. In his last concert he will conduct the Symphony Band at Hill Auditorium Friday night. Friends, fellow musicians, former students and colleagues will join Professor Reynolds for his farewell performance.

Paul Wong
H. Robert Reynolds conducts his final concert Friday.<br><br>Courtesy of University Symphony Band

The band has chosen several of its favorite pieces for this performance. The works include a piece titled, “Weiner Philharmoniker Fanfare,” by German composer Richard Strauss in 1924. The band will also perform another German piece,” Symphony in Bb,” by Paul Hindemith. His main goal of composing was to bring public and composer together.

The next notable work that will be presented is “Lincolnshire Posy” by Percy Grainger. He is known especially for his peculiar behavior throughout his life. This piece is based mainly on his notes of folksongs taken down early in the twentieth century using an Edison phonograph.

The last of the band”s music concludes with “First Suite in Eb” by Gustav Holst. This work was revolutionary for its time in 1909 because it was exclusively written for a wind band instead of arranged for it a previous composed orchestral piece. Holst wanted to make the concert band a serious group and so worked to compose many other works for wind band.

This work contains three movements each with its own unique taste. The first, “Chaconne,” begins with a baritone melody that moves into the trombones and ends with the brass dropping out leaving the winds alone. “Intermezzo” has an energetic tempo that continues throughout the piece. The last is the “March” which combines the two folk tunes from the first two movements.

The band will also present other works especially commissioned for this concert. They include the world premiere of “Song for Band” by William Bolcom and “Rosa Parks Boulevard” by Michael Daugherty. As a tribute to Professor Reynolds, the band will perform a work that was commissioned to commemorate the birth of Professor Reynolds” daughter sixteen years ago titled, “Lullaby for Kirsten,” by Leslie Bassett.

As H. Robert Reynolds retires, he leaves a legacy not just at this university but also on the international music stage. His contributions to his students over the years cannot be measured in achievements. During his time as the Henry F. Thurnau Professor of Music, Director of University Bands and Director or the Division of Instrumental Studies, the Symphony Band has commissioned and premiered over forty pieces.

Professor Reynolds graduated from the University with a degree in Music Education and Performance. His dedication to this University shows through the many years he spent training his students not just in music but also in life. In May he will receive a national award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for his contributions to contemporary American music. Although he formally retires this year, Reynolds will not disappear from sight. His future includes many appearances as a guest conductor and holding clinics and lectures to continue to shape young musician”s minds.

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