In addition to being the final concert of the school year for the Hope College Orchestra, the group’s appearance on Friday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel will be the finale performance for conductor Richard Piippo, who is retiring from the faculty at the end of the academic year.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The program will feature works of Felix Mendelssohn, George Gershwin and Antonín Dvorak. To open the program, the orchestra will perform “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” by Mendelssohn. Continuing with the concert, pianist Adam Clark of the music faculty will join the orchestra in performing “Rhapsody in Blue,” by Gershwin. To close the concert, the orchestra will perform “Symphony No. 9 in E minor, (“New World”),” by Dvorak.
Clark is assistant professor of music (piano) at Hope, where he teaches courses in applied piano, piano ensemble, keyboard skills, piano pedagogy and accompanying. He holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Piippo has been a member of the faculty since 1999 and is an associate professor of music. He serves as a professor of cello/chamber music in addition to serving as conductor of orchestras.
He has led the Symphonette, which is a touring ensemble, not only on spring tours in the East, Midwest and South in the United States, but to Canada; England and Wales; and Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia. In 2007, the Symphonette was one of only four orchestras from around the country invited to perform during the National Conference of the American String Teachers Association. That same year, the group also performed during the opening-day gala concert of the Michigan Music Conference.
Piippo’s involvement in the community includes serving as conductor of the Holland Youth Orchestra and as principal cellist with the Holland Symphony Orchestra. Since 1996, he has spent his summers on the faculty of Seminar at Western Michigan University, as conductor, solo performer, teacher and coach. He also regularly serves as a clinician for secondary-school orchestral music programs.
He began his performing career as a cellist with the Milwaukee Symphony. His reputation grew when he captured first place in two national cello competitions. He appears as soloist and chamber player throughout the United States and Canada, and performs as cellist with the Detroit Symphony and the Quartet Millennium. His work with the Detroit Symphony has included tours of Europe, Japan and Carnegie Hall, and numerous recordings.
Piippo, who in retirement will remain in Holland, completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in 1970 and 1975 respectively. His studies at UW-M were with George Sopkin of the Fine Arts Quartet. Further studies were enhanced by work with Pierre Fournierin Switzerland and Laszlo Varga and Margaret Rowell at the San Francisco Conservatory.
Prior to coming to Hope, he had taught at Wayne State University, Detroit Community Music School and Oakland University.
Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.