Symphony Performs World Premiere of "In Pursuit"

Under the baton of Maestro John Gordon Ross, the Western Piedmont Symphony is pleased to present Masterworks IV--the world premiere of "In Pursuit: A Concerto for Lever Harp and Orchestra." Masterworks IV will be held at 7:30 PM on March 18, 2017, at PE Monroe Auditorium, Lenoir-Rhyne University.

In this groundbreaking new work for the lever harp (Celtic harp) and symphony orchestra, harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist, in collaboration with Hickory-based composer and orchestrator Luke Benton, has written a four-part concerto, drawing on elements of her native Scottish music while transforming the ancient instrument into a vehicle for new sounds within a diverse textural landscape.

Inspired by her mother's book, In Pursuit of Kate Corbett, the concerto follows the incredible tale of Gilchrist's great-great-grandmother, Kate Corbett, who travelled with her family from her prosperous Dublin home across the Atlantic, eventually reaching the alien landscape of Wyoming, where they settled into the challenging life of homesteading. It was a journey full of heartache, loss and great love. The story continues when Corbett, by then a widow of fifty-seven makes the crossing one more time in order to enter the monastic life as a Cistercian nun at a convent in England.

Broken into four movements, the concerto is intended to evoke the vivid succession of landscapes and colors that such a journey must have involved, with its new experiences, sounds, sights and smells: The Voyage; New York; Wyoming and Peace.

The lever harp sits in the center of this narrative, an iconic symbol of Ireland. This ancient instrument becomes a vehicle for the diverse and exciting range of sounds that plant it firmly on the musical map as a leading voice of 21st century instrumentation. This is a unique story that brings together the old and the new. This is harp as you've never heard it!

This premiere is sponsored in part by the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the NC Arts Council, First Citizens Bank and Dr. Alexander Ritchie. Tickets for Masterworks IV range from $22-$42. All tickets are available through, or email at, or call Symphony box office at 828.324.8603 from 10am-2pm, M-F. Save money and time, buy your tickets in advance. Additional information can be found at

Western Piedmont Symphony is a grant recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council and a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Business offices are located on the SALT Block at 243 Third Avenue NE, Hickory. Business hours are 10:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday-Friday.


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