Palumbo to direct his last WSU Orchestra concert


(Source: Weber State archives) Michael Palumbo, long-time WSU professor and conductor conducts
(Source: Weber State University archives) Michael Palumbo, longtime WSU professor and conductor, conducts a concert.

Michael Palumbo, a longtime professor in the Weber State University Music Department, has announced his intentions to retire at the end of the semester, making this WSU Symphony Orchestra concert his last. This Sunday, the orchestra will perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Mozart’s overture to “The Magic Flute” and Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla, the latter featuring the Bonneville Youth Orchestra. 

“Attending a symphony concert is always a great opportunity for cultural experiences,” said Marianne Asmus, a violinist in the WSU Orchestra. “This concert is packed with exciting songs — not a boring moment! Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ is a classic piece that everyone should hear. It’s also a good idea to attend local concerts and show your support. This concert will be so amazing!”

WSU bassist Spencer Howe said he is thrilled to play Dvorak’s fifth symphony.

“It’s such a beautiful piece of music,” he said.

Tara Hoellein, a violist for the group, recalled one of her fondest memories of Palumbo.

“I love the random things Dr. Palumbo does. In one of our last concerts, we played the Rodeo (composed by Aaron Copland) and got to wear cowboy hats. Dr. Palumbo started us, and then started walking around. He later came back to the podium with someone’s hat on! It was so hard to focus and play without losing it completely.”

Asmus also credited Palumbo with a knack for teaching and wry wit as she recalled a memorable rehearsal.

“We finished playing a section, and he looked at us and smiled and said, ‘Good. You guys are really sounding good.’ Then, of course, when we began again, we messed up and he’d say, ‘I spoke too soon.’ His passion for music is always so evident in his teaching, his conducting and in his actions. He really is a major inspiration to all who meet him.”

Howe said he encourages everyone to attend the concert, as did Asmus.

“Come for the music,” Asmus said. “On any given day, you walk through the art building and get a chance to see beautiful artwork. Students labor over their pieces, sometimes for an entire semester, and then display their pieces for weeks. Music students do the same thing, but our pieces are only displayed once — only one single time will the art we, as students and faculty, labor over be displayed. Come for the music; partake of the arts.” 

This will be also be the last and only time to see Palumbo directing the WSU Orchestra. The WSU Symphony Orchestra will perform in the Austad Auditorium in the Browning Center for the Performing Arts this Sunday at 7:30. Tickets are available through the box office or online at Student discounts are available.