Fairmont State University’s Community Arts will host the newly established Black Diamond Philharmonic (BDP) for its premiere performance on Friday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wallman Hall Theatre. BDP is a non-profit organization that employs local musicians to provide musical events of the highest quality, and the only professional orchestra in the greater Morgantown area.
“Fairmont State is proud to serve as a gateway to cultural arts for our region, and we are thrilled to host this performance,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “And what a special treat this performance will be. We will not only get to experience a composition from a native West Virginian, but we also get to witness Dr. Alyssa Schwartz, one of our dear, extraordinarily talented Falcon musicians shine.”
The performance will be conducted by co-founder Mark Wallace, a conducting graduate assistant at West Virginia University and the BDP director of wind activities. Friday’s performance will also feature Dr. Jeffrey Siegfried, a north central West Virginia resident and assistant professor of saxophone at WVU, and Dr. Alyssa Schwartz, a Fairmont resident and director of bands and professor of flute at Fairmont State University. Twelve additional local musicians will also perform.
“Having the opportunity to perform music for the students of Fairmont State University and residents of the Fairmont area is extremely meaningful,” Schwartz said. “This concert will be an excellent educational and cultural experience for our audience because it connects music from a West Virginia composer with the greater tradition of Western Art Music.”
The group will perform Canaan Heights by Mountain State native, Timothy Cooper, along with Concertina da Camera by Jacques Ibert and Dixtour by Jean Francaix.
"As an organization, we strive to connect West Virginians with classical music of the highest quality. That means playing the best music that is already established, as well as advancing the art form with commissions and performances of music by Appalachian composers. We are excited to partner with Fairmont State, as this will be our first performance in Marion County, and are looking forward to bringing this wild and wonderful music to as many West Virginians as possible," Wallace said.
Established in June 2021 by Robert Heath and Mark Wallace, BDP’s mission is two-fold. The ensemble aims to provide affordable access to world-class performances of Western Art Music to residents in the greater Morgantown area, while providing meaningful performance experiences and career opportunities for local instrumentalists and composers alike, capitalizing on the wealth of local talent by collaborating with musicians of the highest caliber.
"In starting the orchestra, Mark and I wanted to celebrate our Appalachian musical heritage, while also exploring music from far-away places. With this concert, we get to do both by showcasing the talent we have in the area and by playing music from France, one of the cultural capitals of Europe. Even more, this concert shows that classical music is a living art form with modern Appalachian composers, performers and audiences sharing in the long tradition of the concert as a social activity,” Heath said.
For more information, visit www.blackdiamondphil.com.