GWU Orchestra Premieres Original Composition by Senior Christian Jessup

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Spring Concert Also Features Soloists and Guests from Local High School

Photo of Christian Jessup
Christian Jessup

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The spring concert of the Gardner-Webb University Orchestra features three soloists and the premiere of a composition written by a GWU senior, Christian Jessup. Presented by the School of Performing and Visual Arts, the program also includes members of the Chamber Orchestra from Crest High School in Shelby, N.C.

Dr. Patricia Sparti, GWU professor of Music, directs the performance. Free and open to the public, the event will be held April 30 at 8 p.m. in Dover Theatre inside the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center. Special guests are Peter Strickland, 1997 alumnus and director of the Crest orchestra, and GWU senior Billy Norton, a student teacher this semester.

Photo of Kenzie Quattlebaum
Kenzie Quattlebaum

Freshman cellist MacKenzie Quattlebaum will perform the solo in Jessup’s original piece, “Cello Concertino.” During the premiere performance, Jessup will be playing bass with the orchestra. Sparti said Jessup’s concertino is programmatic, which means the music tells a story. In Jessup’s piece, the cellist is climbing a mountain and faces many obstacles along the path.

A Boiling Springs native, Jessup worked as an intern in the summer of 2017 with acclaimed film composer, Hans Zimmer, the mastermind behind the soundtrack for The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean. In 2016, Jessup received a grant from the GWU Undergraduate Research Scholars program to develop a completely original score for the 1977 blockbuster, Star Wars. The completed project earned local and national awards for Jessup, who graduates May 12 with degrees in music composition and film and video.

The Gardner-Webb Orchestra features 71 members, including students, faculty and musicians from the community. Additional soloists are senior trumpeters, Robbie Collins and Anthony Lacivita. The concert also features music from Vivaldi, Haydn, Saint-Saëns, Bizet and Sibelius.

Photo of Robbie Collins
Robbie Collins
Photo of Anthony Lacivita
Anthony Lacivita

“It is a great program, with Baroque, classical, and some romantic pieces, two 20th century and one 21st-century piece,” Sparti described. “We are honoring the centennial of Bernstein’s birth, 1918, by playing music from his famous musical, ‘West Side Story.’”

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-4270 or email with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at