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A Gift for Bakersfield

Symphony to premiere fourth original Centennial piece

by Susan Scaffidi
Reprinted with permission from The Bakersfield Californian.
Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra event poster

"A Wish to Behold" is composer Doug Davis' contribution to the Centennial Overture project that has dominated the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra's programming this year. Davis' piece will be premiered Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m. at the Bakersfield Convention Center.

"I wanted to give a present to the community," Davis said.

Davis' present is an orchestral work that is inspired by a Taoist philosophy regarding the relationship between life and human nature.

"When we're born, that life and human nature are in balance," Davis said. "As we gain our identity more and more, human nature gains and 'life' is pushed into the background."

Davis said sometimes events occur that interrupt the development of human nature, and it is at that time that the "heavenly heart" is born.

"The heavenly heart is fragile," Davis said. "But if it survives, it can guide us back to our true selves."

Davis' overture is the fourth of five works commissioned by the orchestra as part of the centennial celebration for the city of Bakersfield. The project, funded by contributions from Symphony Associates, commissioned Davis, Howard Quilling, Richard Southwick, Robert Martinez and John Gerhold to write orchestral pieces for the orchestra's subscription concerts during 1998.

Also included in Sunday's program are the "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber, "Siegfried's Rhine Journey" and "Funeral Music" from "Die Gotterdammerung," one of the operas in Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle, and the Symphony No. 1 by Robert Schumann.

The symphony is offering several services to make it easier to attend the concert. Cal State Bakersfield music professor Jerome Kleinsasser will deliver a lecture examining the music in the program at 3 p.m. in the Grape Room at the Convention Center. Child care is available. Students can take advantage of the symphony's voucher program to obtain tickets.

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