William Lester

In the first pages of the manuscript of William Lester’s Prairie Symphony, the composer writes: “In this symphonic work I have attempted to embody impressions and emotional reactions . . . I am confident that sincere study of the Prairie Symphony source of inspiration will strengthen and enrich our native tongue in music, and help develop a modern tonal idiom of this Northern Continent which can be truthfully labeled native, appealing and characteristic – indisputably OUR OWN!”

Join us for an evening celebrating the music of Chicago composer William Lester (1891–1956). The longtime organist and music director of the New First Congregational Church in Chicago, Lester had an extensive output, including an opera and operettas, works for organ and solo piano, sacred and secular cantatas and dramatic scenes, orchestral and chamber music, choral motets and countless songs (many written for his beloved wife Margaret).

The concert will includes a wide variety of chamber music, songs and carol settings, performed by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and friends, including the composer’s grandson Stephen Lester, a member of the Orchestra’s bass section.

An extensive collection of Lester’s music has recently been deposited in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rosenthal Archives, and a small exhibit of scores, manuscripts and photographs will be on display at the concert.

Celebrating the Music of William Lester
Friday evening, December 9, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Building, Room 404
410 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Free admission and a reception will follow. For more information, please contact grandadsmusic@gmail.com.

The first page of the Gavotte from Lester's At Thurnby Court, one of the works to be performed at Friday evening's concert.