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JMU, Norfolk Governor’s School join forces to present Mahler Symphony

james madison university jmuThe orchestral and choral areas in the James Madison University School of Music and the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk are partnering to perform Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, known as Resurrection Symphony.

More than 250 musicians in a performance will bring Mahler’s work to life on Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at JMU’s Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. A second performance will take place a day earlier on Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 pm at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

“It’s a happy marriage because we couldn’t perform this piece without them, and they couldn’t perform it without us,” says Foster Beyers, director of orchestras at JMU. “One of the main challenges is that it requires a huge number of performers both instrumentally and vocally.”

Onstage will be 153 students from JMU (76 students from the JMU Symphony Orchestra and 77 students from The Combined Madison Singers and JMU Chorale) and 102 students from the GSA (71 orchestra students and 31 choral students).

“It’s an invaluable experience to combine forces and explore this amazing large-scale work together,” adds Jeff Phelps, orchestra director for the GSA.

Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, which contains five movements that will be conducted by Phelps and Beyers, was first performed in 1895. Mahler created this powerful and philosophical work out of a profound sense of grief and loss, but transcends that darkness in a magnificent summation of renewed hope.

‘This work is epic,” said Beyers. “It’s one of those pieces that you dream of playing when you start in the orchestra, and it’s a rare opportunity for all of these performers.”

Tickets for the Forbes Center performance are available at or by calling the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000.

augusta free press
augusta free press