Founded in 1915 by Walter McCray, the man for whom the music building at Pittsburg State University would be named, the SEK Symphony of Pittsburg State University still is going strong 104 years later. With four major performances each academic year, the group’s goal is to be an integral part of the culture of Southeast Kansas.
The upcoming season, the group’s 105th, includes:
• An Evening with World Renowned Operatic Tenor Robert Dean Smith | 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Smith, an alumnus of the PSU Department of Music, has performed around the world — from Dresden, Germany, to the lead role with the Metropolitan Opera broadcast in the Met's “Live in HD” series. He’ll return home to Pittsburg for a gala performance with the SEK Symphony at the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.Smith and the SEK Symphony will perform an encore concert at the Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City — one of the most prestigious concert halls in the nation — at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
• Holiday Extravaganza and 5th Anniversary Celebration for Bicknell Family Center for the Arts | 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 The Bicknell Center will turn five this academic year and is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate. The SEK Symphony will join the party to perform holiday favorites and a review of Broadway musicals performed at the Bicknell Center since it opened in 2015. Also featured in this free concert will be regional singers and other musical performance groups. A reception with birthday cake will follow in the lobby.
• PSU Opera Theatre and the SEK Symphony present the 2020 Opera Performance | 7:30 p.m. Feb 14 and 3 p.m. Feb 16
The SEK Symphony will perform live for PSU Opera Theater’s performances of the historic “Cosi fan tutte” by W. A. Mozart — a story in which two officers are convinced their fiancés will remain faithful, but a friendly wager with another officer that they will not leads to chaos.
• New Music New Voices | 7:30 p.m. April 9 As has been its tradition in recent years, the SEK Symphony will continue to premiere new works by living composers. This concert will feature PSU faculty members Joann Britz, clarinet, and Raúl Munguía, violin, performing the Kansas premiere of "WubWubWub" for violin, clarinet, and orchestra. It was composed by Patrick Conlon, who has written for and collaborated with such diverse groups as the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble and Trio Encantado and performs regularly with the Tulsa Symphony and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. The concert will be conducted by Robert Dick, conductor of the Dundee Symphony Orchestra in Scotland.
• Children’s Concert | 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. April 21
The annual children’s concert will return in bigger and bolder fashion thanks to a collaboration with Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, which chose the SEK Symphony to present the award-winning educational concert, “Link Up!” A grant will help the SEK Symphony take music education to schools through a year-long curriculum culminating in an exciting and interactive free experience at the Bicknell Center for children in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.
All PSU students, faculty, administrators, and personnel may attend ticketed SEK Symphony concerts free of charge. Tickets for the public are $5 for children and retired PSU employees, $12 for seniors and groups, and $15 for adults. They may be purchased at the PSU Ticket Office in the Garfield Weede Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling 620-235-4796, or online at https://www.pittstate.edu/office/ticket-office/index.html They also may be purchased at the door starting one hour before the performance.