An orchestra and chorus from Moscow will perform Verdi's "Messa da Requiem."
Two Kansas University music professors and three KU doctoral students are rehearsing for what might be the most unforgettable experience in their musical careers.
Friday night, they will take the stage at the Lied Center to perform Giuseppe Verdi's "Messa da Requiem" with the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of conductor Nikolai Alexeyev.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Christopher Moore, KU assistant professor of music, who will play trumpet during the composition.
In addition to Moore, Alan Hawkins, KU associate professor of music, will play bassoon and doctoral students Stephen Molloy, Stephen Patterson and Jana Borchardt will play trumpets during the work. Greg Jones, professor of trumpet at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., also will join the orchestra.
Verdi's "Requiem" was composed in commemoration of Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni, whom the composer greatly admired. It was premiered exactly one year after Manzoni's death at the church of San Marco in Milan, Italy.
Hawkins said the composition calls for a greater number of players than are in the Russian orchestra.
"So they are hiring extra players for the concert (at each tour stop) rather than taking them on the whole tour," Hawkins said. " " It will be a very interesting experience because every country and the greatest symphonies in every country have a different philosophy and approach to music."
Although Verdi's "Requiem" is well-known to the KU musicians, they are nonetheless practicing their parts. Friday afternoon, they will rehearse for the first time with the Russian symphony and choir.
The Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is comprised of more than 100 instrumentalists, 50 vocalists and four soloists with the Bolshoi Opera -- mezzo soprano Elena Okolysheva, soprano Tatyana Silayeva, bass Legi Imediashvili and tenor Badri Maisuradze.
The orchestra and chorus were created in 1978 so the symphonic repertoire of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries could be broadcast to the Russian people. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev decided the broadcasts -- based on the BBC Symphony Orchestra's radio show -- should be aired weekly.
The orchestra expanded its activities into Russian, European and American feature film productions, Russian television soundtracks and European television. In 1980, the orchestra began playing a 36-week subscription series in Moscow's Tchaikovsky Hall.
The orchestra and chorus have toured extensively throughout Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
"It's an international experience to play with the orchestra," Moore said. "We feel a great honor to do this."
-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Where: Lied Center.
Tickets: Available at the Lied Center Box Office, 864-ARTS; Murphy Hall Box Office, 864-3982; Student Union Activities Box Office, 864-3477; KU Medical Center Bookstore; and any Ticketmaster outlet, (785) 234-4545 and (816) 931-3330.