Symphony to open season with grunge-inspired work

2010-09-16T23:15:00Z Symphony to open season with grunge-inspired workBy JEFF KORBELIK / Lincoln Journal Star
September 16, 2010 11:15 pm  • 

Diane Barger doesn't listen to the grunge band Nirvana, but she appreciates the talent of the band's former frontman.

"Kurt Cobain was a genius, quite frankly," said Barger, principal clarinetist of Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Scott McAllister recognized the late Cobain's talent, too, using Cobain's rendition of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" for his "X - Concerto for Clarinet."

Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra, under Maestro Edward Polochick, will perform McAllister's tribute to "Generation X" tonight in Kimball Recital Hall.

LSO also will open its 84th season with Schumann's "Overture, Scherzo and Finale" and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, the composer's homage to Scottish music.

McAllister, a professor of composition at Baylor University, will be in attendance and join Barger and Polochick in a talk at 6:45 p.m. in the lower lobby of Kimball.

"I hope that our audience can appreciate the ingenuity of this concerto and understand that composers and musicians can be inspired from all types of musical, cultural and artistic influences in the creation of their work," Barger said.

Barger, who attended Florida State University with McAllister, is very familiar with the composer's works. He's written several pieces for clarinet. Barger plans to record some of them this spring.

The concerto is McAllister's third version of the piece. He originally wrote it for piano and clarinet. He has since adapted it for a wind ensemble and an orchestra.

"What I like about the wind ensemble is it has so many colors," she said. "With the orchestral version, it's easier to pick up the tunes he uses from pop culture."

Besides Nirvana's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," a song by blues icon Lead Belly that Cobain reinterpreted and recorded during the band's "MTV Unplugged" performance in 1993, McAllister uses "Sickman" by Alice in Chains.

You'll also hear McAllister reference Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in the third movement.

"It's a different piece, no question," said Barger, a clarinet professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "I hope people will appreciate the energy and uniqueness of it."

Season tickets are available with a 50 percent discount for new subscribers. New this year is LSO's "20/30 Club," which makes $10 tickets available to ages 18 to 39. For more information, visit

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