Music from Four Centuries

French horn soloist Julie Callahan Gross will represent the 20th century with Concertino for Horn and String Orchestra. Photos courtesy Topanga Symphony

The next free concert by the Topanga Symphony will feature four centuries of classical music on Sunday evening, June 23, 7:30 p.m., at the Topanga Community House.

The eighteenth century will be represented by the overture from “Iphigenia in Aulis” by Christoph Willibald Gluck. The piece was the first he wrote for the Paris Opera and premiered in April 1774. It is based on French playwright Jean Racine’s tragedy first performed in 1674 for Louis XIV.  

The nineteenth century work is German composer Johannes Brahms’ Serenade #1 in D. Op. 11, which premiered March 3, 1860, in Hanover, Germany, and was published the same year as the first orchestral work by Brahms to appear in print. His romantic motifs are the experiences that bring the classical music audience the joyful endorphins they all crave.

Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson’s Concertino for Horn and String Orchestra will represent the 20th century, featuring the Symphony’s French Horn soloist, Julie Callahan Gross.  

Gross earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Music from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She freelances throughout Central and Southern California areas.

Larsson wrote the piece in 1954 while teaching at Stockholm Conservatory. It is the fifth of 12 works written for various solo wind instruments.  All are accompanied by string orchestra, and are included under the heading of Twelve Concertinos, Opus 45.

The contemporary piece representing the 21st century will be the West Coast premiere of String Overture by William Foster McDaniel.  

Pianist, composer, and conductor, William Foster McDaniel’s music studies include post-graduate work in Paris, France,

Composer William Foster McDaniel’s String Overture Presents a 21st-century lighthearted mood of joie de vivre.

as a Fulbright Scholar and a Masters of Music from Boston University. He is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, in Columbus, Ohio.

McDaniel moved from New York to Southern California in 2018 upon his marriage to the Topanga Symphony principal flute, Paulie Inslee Davis. His generous contributions to the community orchestra began as the accompanist at the 2018 Topanga Symphony Annual Fundraiser. McDaniel’s Overture for Strings was commissioned by Ken Adams, Musical Director of the New York Sinfonetta.

McDaniel says of the piece, “My desire was simply to capture a mood of lighthearted joie de vivre.”

Classical music has never gone out of style. Today this elegant music from centuries past brings culture and sophistication to our modern 21st century lives. From the classical masters to contemporary composers, the Topanga Symphony presents this music live and free to the Santa Monica Mountains community.  



To learn more and become a Friend of the Topanga Symphony, Come to the concert and experience what four centuries of audiences have enjoyed.  The up-close-and-personal nature of the Topanga Community House provides an intimate venue that enhances the experience.


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