Fox Valley Symphony to Perform a U.S. Debut and Two “Lost” Works

January 18, 2013

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (FVSO) is honored to perform the U.S. premiere of Benjamin Britten’s “In Memoriam Dennis Brain” at their January 26, 2013 concert. This piece remained incomplete but is a fine tribute to British horn player Dennis Brain. Brain (1921-57) studied with his father, Aubrey, at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He played principal horn with first the Royal Philharmonic and then the Philharmonia orchestras. He was killed in an automobile accident. Brain’s extraordinary artistry has been preserved on many orchestral and solo recordings. Works were written for him by Hindemith, Britten and other composers.

FVSO Principal horn Bruce Atwell discovered the piece while visiting the Britten Library in England. “I noticed they had a page of manuscript in a frame on the wall. It was a work for four horns, strings and percussion by Britten that I had never heard of,” says Atwell. “The new work was based on the Dirge movement of the Serenade and was intended to be played at Brain's funeral. Unfortunately Britten was not able to finish the work in time and it has languished in the library stacks ever since.” The Fox Valley horns, Bruce Atwell, Kelly Hofman, Liz Olson and Paul Litterio will be the first in the U.S. to perform the piece.

Another unique work on the program is “Suite on Children’s Tunes” by LaVahn Maesch. Maesch was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and received his Bachelor’s degree in music from Lawrence University. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Eastman School of Music before returning to his hometown to become a professor of organ and choral music at Lawrence. Maesch became the third Dean of the Conservatory of Music at Lawrence and served the community in that role until his retirement in 1970. Music Director Brian Groner was given the score for “Suite”, but the parts were lost. Enlisting the help of Brian Pertl, the current Dean of the Conservatory at Lawrence, who was himself a student at the Conservatory during Maesch’s years as dean, the FVSO gave the score of the work to Lawrence student Daniel Miller, who painstakingly recreated it in digital form and then extracted the orchestra parts from the core. “Suite on Children’s Tunes” can now be performed again after being lost for 17 years.

The concert also features solos from Lawrence University professors Wen Lei Gu and Steven Paul Spears. (See below for full concert details or visit

FVSO invites the audience to join them for a pre-concert talk in the KC Theatre with Julie McQuinn of Lawrence University at 6:40pm and again for a post-concert party in the lobby.

Tickets range from $29 to $59 with student tickets $10 day of concert. All music teachers get one free ticket to the Fox Valley Symphony concert. Group pricing is also available. Call (920)730-3760 for ticket information.

Season Underwriter-Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Full Concert Repertoire:

LaVahn Maesch: Suite on Children’s Tunes
Benjamin Britten: In Memoriam Dennis Brain
U.S. PREMIERE with the Fox Valley Horns
Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and
Strings, Op. 31
Steven Paul Spears, Tenor
Kelly Hoffman, Horn
Edward Elgar: Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 for Violin
and Orchestra
Wen Lei Gu, Violin

Saturday, January 26, 2013:
6:30pm: Doors Open
6:40pm: Pre-Concert talk with Julie McQuinn of
Lawrence University
7:30pm: Concert begins at the Fox Cities
Performing Arts Center’s Thrivent
Financial for Lutherans Hall
Post Concert Reception for the audience and
musicians. All are welcome.

Our Proud Sponsors
View all sponsors