APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra will present “Opening Night” Oct. 1 and finally give its tuba master, Marty Erickson, a chance perform a noted tuba concerto that’s been twice postponed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Thrivent Financial Hall of Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

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The concert will open “A Festive Violet Pulse” by Nancy Galbraith, followed by “Testament” from “Vishwas” by Reena Esmail.

Music director and conductor Kevin F.E. Sütterlin will offer background on the contemporary works.

Marty Erickson will be featured in “Concerto for Tuba and Strings” by Norwegian composer Arild Plau.

Erickson was the principal solo tubist with the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., for 26 years.

He is the principal tuba player with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and performs with Rodney Marsalis and his Philadelphia Big Brass.

Erickson is in his 17th year as instructor of tuba, euphonium and chamber music at the Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University.

Arild Plau studied the piano and composition at the Oslo Conservatory of Music. During World War II, he was imprisoned as a hostage for his brothers, who had fled to Sweden, and sentenced to 30 years of slavery. He was in a camp in Troms, in the northern part of Norway until the war ended.
When peace came, Plau changed instruments and studied the bassoon. After a brief time as a deputy conductor, to survive, he played piano in various restaurants in Oslo for eleven years. When the Norwegian Opera opened in 1958, he got a job as a bassoonist and stayed in the orchestra until he was 70, in 1990.
Plau wrote mostly chamber music. He wrote the tuba concerto when he was about 70. It is in sonata form and comprises three movements. The grief-ridden middle movement was composed in memory of his wife, who had just passed away.

The work has become popular among tubists and is played on concerts and competitions around the world. Closing the concert is Dmitry Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5.”

The composer was caught in the time of the iron grip of the Soviet Union. Grandeur, heroism and happy endings were nonnegotiable. Shostakovich knew that to survive, he would have to compose a work that appeared to give them what they wanted, such as his “Fifth Symphony.”