A Hartwick College professor will be making music with the Utica Symphony Orchestra this fall in a concert featuring the rock ‘n’ roll band Chicago.
Jason Leo Curley, assistant professor of music, will conduct the Utica Symphony Orchestra at the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Chicago will perform its classic songs with the 52-piece orchestra, which will add texture, richness and depth to the music, Curley said. Orchestration of familiar songs changes how a listener may perceive well-known melodies, he said.
“It’s like hearing them again, for the first time,” Curley said. “It’s a fresh experience.”
Chicago, known for such songs as “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” “25 or 6 to 4,” and “You’re the Inspiration,” performed July 1 at the Wright National Soccer Campus in Oneonta for the annual Hospice Celebrity Party. Curley said he had a gig that night but heard that the crowd was receptive.
Chicago is the “highest marquee quality” group with which he has had the opportunity to perform, Curley said, and “I’m absolutely flattered and honored” to be performing with the band, he said.
“Everybody knows Chicago,” Curley said.
Curley, who has been guest conductor three times for the Utica Symphony, said he called upon Hartwick adjunct faculty and alumni to perform at the November concert. Those musicians include Ana Laura Gonzalez on flute and piccolo; Daniel Hane on bassoon; Mike DePauw on tuba; M.W. Degan, class of 2011, on bass; Patrick Duffy, class of 2010, playing keyboards; and Uli Speth on violin.
“We are excited about this collaboration with an artist as inter-generationally recognized as Chicago,” Curley said. “It’s an honor to be called into action and work with a marquee ensemble and professional orchestra for what will turn out to be far more than your average rock concert.”
Chicago, which ranked No. 13 in Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 artists of all time, has sold more than 1 million records and produced 34 albums, 25 of which have gone platinum, a media release said.
The concert will be part of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Great Artist Series.
“The board of the Utica Symphony Orchestra approached me this April about more progressive programming mixed in with their classics,” Curley said in the release from the college. “Given my successes at Hartwick College with respect to Rock Orchestra and Fall in Love with Motown, they thought that my youthful edge could help them re-establish and broaden their audience. I was happy to take up the reigns.”
Hartwick, a private liberal arts and science college, enrolls about 1,600 students. Classes started Tuesday.
Curley, 33, joined the Oneonta college in 2008 and is director of instrumental music. His primary instrument is French horn, and he teaches conducting, large ensemble, arranging and orchestration.
The Stanley Theater has almost 3,000 seats, he said.
According to the theater’s website, tickets are available and prices range from $36 to $131.