Unit HomeNews
"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Sibelius and Nielsen: 150 Years

By Staff Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | February 3, 2015


The Marine Chamber Orchestra will honor the 150th anniversary of the birth of two Nordic composers, Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen, during a concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8, at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va. Conducted by Assistant Director Maj. Michelle A. Rakers, the program will feature three powerful works that convey the two composers’ inspiration and deepest compassions. The concert is free; no tickets are required. Free parking is also available in the adjacent garage.

“I am taking the opportunity, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of these two Nordic musical giants, to showcase pieces that are somewhat out of the norm for repertoire heard in America,” Rakers said about the program. “The Nielsen is a beast of a clarinet concerto, while the two Sibelius works are from the composer’s lesser known incidental music collection, a genre he enjoyed writing for throughout his career.”

It was after Finnish composer Sibelius left Helsinki for a log cabin in the country that he was able to revitalize his creative energy for composing. Although he had had great success and was viewed in his native country in a manner akin to a rock star, Sibelius suffered from health and other problems and was becoming disillusioned. It was during his transition to the country, while taking a break from working on his Third Symphony, that he welcomed the opportunity to write music for the stage, including his Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande and Suite No. 2 from The Tempest, Opus 109, both of which the chamber orchestra will perform during the concert. Sibelius’s music from The Tempest was his final venture into writing for the theater and many believed it was his best work in the genre.

A contemporary of Sibelius, Nielsen is considered the most highly regarded Danish composer of the twentieth century. He is most well known for his six symphonies, three concerti, and the wind quintet that inspired other works, including his piece on the concert program, Clarinet Concerto, Opus 57. The concerto, which will feature assistant principal clarinet Staff Sgt. Patrick Morgan, requires exceptionally virtuosic playing by the soloist while demonstrating the incredible skill of the musician.

A clarinet quartet will offer pre-concert music in the lobby beginning at 1:15 p.m. and patrons will have the opportunity to chat with the conductor and soloist in the lobby immediately following the orchestra concert.

Complete program and notes

Directions and parking

Unit News Search