As organizations go, the College Orchestra Directors Association is the new kid on the block.

While band and choral directors have been organized in associations for decades, orchestra directors have been slow to follow suit. "It's a fairly new group," Kory Katseanes told the Deseret Morning News by phone. "It's only about 5 years old."

Every other year, the College Orchestra Directors Association holds a national conference. This year, Brigham Young University will host the three-day event, which begins Thursday.

Katseanes, who is the director of orchestras at BYU, has the distinction of being one of the first to join the fledging association. "The membership is now at 110 universities and colleges, and I expect about 50 or so will be represented at the conference," he said.

Directing the orchestra program at BYU means that Katseanes is also in charge of organizing the conference. He and a committee have been busy for months getting everything coordinated, and right now he feels pretty good about it all.

"I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "I think it's going to be an interesting couple of days with lectures and presentations and workshops for young conductors."

Utah Symphony music director Keith Lockhart will

be the keynote speaker Saturday. "The title of his talk will be 'What They Didn't Teach Me in Conductor's School,"' Katseanes said.

There will also be two concerts during the conference. Lockhart and the Utah Symphony and Chorus will perform Edvard Grieg's entire "Peer Gynt" Thursday evening. The following night, Katseanes will conduct the BYU Philharmonic in a program that will include the premiere performance of Libby Larsen's "Bach 358."

Larsen's piece was commissioned by BYU's Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the premiere was intentionally delayed to coincide with this conference. "The people at Barlow worked with CODA to have this piece written for the conference," Katseanes said. "I'm really excited to be premiering it."

"Bach 358" is a short five-minute piece that starts and ends quietly and flares up in the middle, Katseanes said. Larsen quotes Bach, hence the title. "She uses material from some of Bach's works. The opening theme is from his 'Musical Offering."'

Larsen was originally scheduled to be at BYU, but she can't attend the premiere. "But thanks to modern technology, we've arranged to have her take part in the conference Saturday afternoon through video conferencing," Katseanes said.

Also on Friday's program is Gustav Holst's "The Perfect Fool" and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with BYU faculty member and Metropolitan Opera star Jennifer Welch-Babidge as soloist.

"I'm looking forward to having Jennifer on this concert," Katseanes said. "She has a spectacular voice."

Katseanes is delighted to be able to perform another Mahler symphony. "We're gradually working our way through them." The maestro makes no secret that he is a huge Mahler fan. "There is something magical about his music," he said. "It's really amazing how he can take some seemingly disparate ideas and put them together and make them work."

Mahler finished work on the Fourth in 1900, while he was already working on his next symphony. As fate would have it, this least fatalistic of his works would also prove to be the last that he conducted of his own compositions before his untimely death at age 51."That was in New York. He conducted the Fourth shortly before he left to return to Europe," Katseanes said.

The events during the conference are open only to CODA members, except for the two concerts. These are open to all ticket holders.

If you go . . .

What: College Orchestra Directors Association concert: Utah Symphony and Chorus, Keith Lockhart, conductor

Where: de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $15 adults, $10 senior citizens and BYU faculty, $8 students

Phone: 801-422-4322



What: BYU Philharmonic, Kory Katseanes, conductor

Where: de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $10 adults, $7 students with ID

Phone: 801-422-4322

E-mail: [email protected]