Gustavus Symphony Preps for South Africa Concert Tour

Posted on January 9th, 2012 by

The 2011-12 Gustavus Symphony Orchestra

The 2011-12 Gustavus Symphony Orchestra

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Ruth Lin open 2012 with a busy schedule of rehearsals, sectionals and classes as they prepares for a January 21 departure for The Republic of South Africa and the Symphony’s first-ever concert tour on the African continent. While in South Africa from January 21 – February 2, the Symphony will present six public concerts in the areas surrounding Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“This tour is a great opportunity for us to grow as musicians while traveling to a country that most of us would probably not see on our own,” Gustavus senior violinist Meghan Peterson said. “I’m really looking forward to making great music and getting closer to this fantastic group of people.”

The program prepared for South Africa is a collection of compositions and arrangements by American composers. The Symphony will open its concert program with two works by Aaron Copland (1900-1997), including Fanfare for the Common Man and An Outdoor Overture, and the Symphonic Suite by George Chadwick. The program continues with four compositions which comprise Leroy Anderson’s (1908-1975) Alma Mater – Scenes for Orchestra and “To A Wild Rose,” an arrangement by Leroy Anderson of a movement from Edward MacDowell’s Woodland Sketches. The program will conclude with John Williams’ (b. 1932) “Star Wars” Suite for Orchestra.

The concert schedule for the upcoming tour is as follows:

  • January 24 / Cape Town Institute for the Blind / Cape Town
  • January 26 / Tembaletu Special School / Cape Town
  • January 26 / V&A Waterfront Amphitheater
  • January 27 / Cape Town International Musical Festival, Cape Town City Hall / Cape Town
  • January 29 / Cape Gate Miagi Centre Music Hall / Johannesburg
  • January 30 / Sun City Resort Amphitheater / Johannesburg
  • February 12 / Home Concert in Christ Chapel / St. Peter, Minn.

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1888 following the establishment of a School of Music at the College in 1887 and has since grown to be a full symphonic orchestra performing a broad selection of music. The ensemble regularly performs with faculty and guest soloists, as well as other campus ensembles, at events such as Christmas in Christ Chapel and the internationally recognized Nobel Conference.

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra has a membership of about 60 student musicians. The ensemble tours annually, and once every four years travels abroad for a unique musical and cultural experience. In the spring of 2000, the orchestra made its European debut, performing in England, Scotland, and Wales. In January and February of 2004, the group embarked on a ground-breaking concert tour in China and made a return visit in January of 2008.

Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Conductor Ruth Lin

Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Conductor Ruth Lin

Dr. Lin, the orchestra’s conductor, assumed the role in Sept. 2010. Prior to joining the Gustavus faculty, Dr. Lin served as the director of orchestral activities at Iowa State University from 2007 to 2009, where she conducted the Iowa State Symphony Orchestra and taught beginning and advanced instrumental conducting as well as other music classes. Still active as a pianist, Dr. Lin regularly performs as part of the Chicago Piano Vocal Score and has been featured on the Dame Myra Hess Series on Chicago’s WFMT as part of the Lin-Kontorovitch piano duo.

Dr. Lin was born in Zhang Zhou, China, and holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and music technology and master’s and doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting – all from Northwestern University.

This year’s international tour to South Africa will be documented by Gustavus Director of Fine Arts Programs Al Behrends and alumnus Anders Bjorling at Behrends will provide regular written updates, while Bjorling’s photographs will also be featured on the blog.

Following its return to Gustavus, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra will present its annual Home Concert at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 in Christ Chapel. This performance is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and its upcoming tour, contact Music Tours Manager Lisa Westphal at 507-933-7163 or


Comments are closed.