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Why You'll Love This Concert

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák actually lived in America for a few years and wrote some of his most inspired music here. Maestro Wilson has built a program around two of the composer’s memorable American pieces, highlighted by Nicholas Canellakis, one of our greatest cello masters.

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Harry Thacker Burleigh


2 flutes, oboe, English horn, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, timpani, percussion, strings


Across the six movements of From the Southland, Burleigh blends many influences into a highly personalized work.

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2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings


The orchestration is resonant and colorful, featuring woodwind and French horn solos prominently, as well as bold brass chorales. The tendency toward straightforward lyricism is clearly inspired by folk song.

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2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings


With the Symphony No. 9, Dvořák issued a charge to American composers: that “Negro melodies” and Indigenous American music “must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.”

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The Critical Role of Burleigh

Harry Thacker Burleigh was the first African American composer to play a critical role in the development of a characteristically “American” style of classical music. In addition to singing as a soloist at New York City’s St. George’s Church from 1894 to 1946, he composed more than 200 songs.

We will celebrate his contribution to music with Burleigh’s From the Southland. It features six movements influenced by well-known tunes like “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” and “Swanee River.”

A Love Unreturned but Maintained

Antonín Dvořák fell in love with an aspiring actress to whom he gave piano lessons, sixteen-year-old Josefina Čermáková. Josefine did not return his love, and Dvořák eventually married her younger sister.

Still, Dvořák’s deep affection for Josephin was maintained — so much so that his anguish over her illness and death are showcased in the piece he was composing at the time, his Cello Concerto in B Minor, op. 104.

The elegiac coda at the end of the first movement stops the piece’s dancelike momentum, mimicking a wave of grief that can knock one off their feet. The movement swells again in a stormy conclusion that can’t help but make the heart yearn.

Inspired by Native American Songs & African American Spirituals

Though Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, op. 95, is nicknamed “From the New World,” it’s not an “American” symphony. Rather, he was deeply inspired by Native American songs and African American spirituals.

Placing an emphasis on the brass and woodwinds, Dvořák captures the spirit of these traditions. Particularly distinctive for some listeners is the first melody within the piece, a flute solo that appears to be deeply influenced by “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

The interweaving of spirituals such as this harkens back to the deep friendship Dvořák formed with Burleigh while he was at the National Conservatory in New York.

Safety Improvements

On every concert night, you will notice changes designed to keep everyone safe, secure, and comfortable during your evening at the symphony. Learn about our safety improvements.

Additional Information

Fabulous concert! A magnificent pianist with a unique and beautiful interpretation of the performed works.

Directions to Redlands

Redlands is conveniently located less than 30 minutes from Riverside, Loma Linda, Yucaipa, Highland, and Beaumont. From Hemet, it’s just a short jaunt north on CA-79 and West on I-10. It is easily accessible from Los Angeles 60 miles east along Hwy 10. And from San Diego, it’s a beautiful, 2-hour drive north along I-15 and I-215.

Getting ready to attend our concert? View our directions page.

Directions to Memorial Chapel at University of Redlands

All regular season concerts are held at Memorial Chapel on the University of Redlands campus.

Click here to get directions to the chapel.

Sponsored By:

Larry & Char Burgess

Concert Info

Performed by: Redlands Symphony 05/14/22 at 08:00pm

Performed at: Memorial Chapel 1200 E Colton AveRedlands, CA 92354 Get Directions


Photos of Nicholas Canellakis by Sophie Zhai

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