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Game Changers - Vital New Music

February 11, Thaden Performing Arts Center


A New Year brings new music to enjoy! We were honored to kick off our 2023 concerts featuring African-American compositions and players so often underrepresented in classical music.


Game Changers: Vital New Music helped break new musical boundaries with a performance of Movements for Flute and Orchestra by composer Carlos Simon, featuring flutist Brian Dunbar. The APO was proud to be one of the commissioners of this piece.

The concert opened with a complement of our Arkansas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra joining the APO for a haunting new look at the classic hymn Amazing Grace, reconceived and arranged by Jennifer Higdon. Beautiful! 


The night concluded with an amazing finale featuring Joseph Schwanter's New Morning for the World: "Daybreak of Freedom", with a reading of text from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Reverend Stephen Ivey.



CARLOS SIMON: Movements for Flute and Orchestra

JOSEPH SCHWANTNER: New Morning for the World: “Daybreak of Freedom”



Maestro Steven Byess


Listen in as Steven Byess sits down with Flutist Brian Dunbar and Composer Carlos Simon to discuss the upcoming world-premiere performance of 'Movements for Flute and Orchestra'
"I think that's really one of the best aspects of this piece: not only is it a wonderful, energetic, exciting work for the flute, but also the orchestra has a lot of 'play' in the game as well." - Dr. Brian Dunbar




Dr. Brian Dunbar, a native of St. Augustine, FL, enjoys performing as a soloist, orchestral performer, and chamber musician, in addition to his activities as a flute instructor. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from Louisiana State University and is the Assistant Professor of Flute at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. 


Brian is an award-winning performer, and has performed with numerous orchestras internationally and throughout the United States, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony, Dearborn Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, and Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, in addition to other regional orchestras throughout the United States.




A native of Tulsa, OK Stephen Ivey, or "Professa" as his friends affectionately call him, comes from a rich lineage of preachers, musicians and singers, with a passion for empowering young people to live out their passions and find their purpose. Stephen describes himself as "a preacher who is musically gifted."


Today, Stephen is also a songwriter/producer, specializing in "creative expressions of all kinds to reach the soul of all kinds". through Ivey League Productions. The company has since released three albums, 1 EP, and three singles; and is currently working on releasing new music this year.  Previously, Stephen has alo been priveleged to spend a year as adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas, leading the University's Gospel Choir, The Inspirational Chorale.


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