Conductor to Honor Gottschalk on 25 Years as Conductor and Mentor

Nathan Gottschalk

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center's Main Theater, a musical master and mentor will be honored with the first concert of the season — a tribute to his 25 years of making great music at the University.

The University-Community Symphony Orchestra, under its new musical conductor, Findlay Cockrell, will honor Dr. and Polly Gottschalk with its first fall concert. A one-hour program, followed by a reception in the Futterer Lounge, will include guest soloists Sheila Reinhold of New York City on the violin, and Randall Ellis, faculty member in the Department of Music, on the oboe.

"For 25 years Dr. Nathan Gottschalk has been a powerful force in the Department of Music, as University-Community Orchestra conductor, teacher of violin and viola, department chairman (2 terms-plus), teacher of orchestral and chamber music literature, conducting, and more," states Findlay Cockrell, conductor of the University-Community Symphony Orchestra as of the 1995-96 academic year. "He has a wealth of experience and he brought this experience to us."

That "wealth" for Gottschalk includes 36 years as conductor and music director for the Pioneer Valley Symphony in Greenfield, Massachusetts, music director of the Amherst Opera Company, appearances as conductor with all-state music festival orchestras, and summers spent at the Chautauqua Institute where he headed the music school and taught violin.

Max Lifchitz, who joined the Department of Music in 1986, said "Dr. Gottschalk has served the University well, because he made sure that the Department of Music became and remained a viable part of the educational and cultural life of the University."

With Cockrell's own transition from long-time outstanding teacher and concert soloist to the department's first new conductor in 25 years, Gottschalk generously became a critical collaborator.

"Dr. Gottschalk has been working with me in the difficult area of finding people to play the instruments in the orchestra. All conductors share this trait in common — because the chief headache is not in learning the music — but in creating the orchestra!"

Cockrell confesses that he knew he would be a likely candidate as Gottschalk's replacement during the 1995 spring semester when he was asked to substitute as conductor at an orchestra rehearsal.

"Dr. Gottschalk came to my office and simply said to me, 'I am looking for someone who likes to conduct'. I felt this was a lovely gesture. It was his way of saying I had his stamp of approval."

The concert program will begin with Nicolai's Overture to his opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, Bach's Concerto for Violin, Oboe and Strings, then move on to the 10-movement ballet Suite:The Comedians by Kabalevsky, and concluding with the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens.

Admission is free.


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