Nov. 17: Webster Chamber Orchestra Performs World Premier of Composition by Kim Portnoy

| November 13, 2013
Kim Portnoy


The Webster University Chamber Orchestra (WUCO) will perform the world premier of a new composition by Kim Portnoy, associate professor of music. The performance is part of the WUCO’s concert on Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. on the Community Music School stage.

Portnoy’s composition, “Jack Ruby Talks Business With the New Girl: November 21, 1963,” is based on a setting of a poem by David Clewell, Webster English professor and Missouri poet laureate 2010-12.

Clewell has created a significant body of work. His poems contain humor, humaneness, sympathy for the little guy and a fascination with unusual phenomena (spontaneous combustion, for example). He is also interested in many facets of American culture, both past and present, including pink flamingos, jazz, Roswell, astronauts and conspiracy theories.

His book, Jack Ruby’s America, offers up one version of the many theories surrounding the assassination of President John Kennedy — that it was a Mob hit. It is told however, from an unlikely point of view, that of Jack Ruby, the man who shot Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.



Through his poetry, Clewell is able to paint a picture of Ruby as a small time operator for the mob trying to make good as a nightclub owner. He’s always striving for class in a world that seems the antithesis of that particular quality. Ultimately, he is at the mercy of forces beyond his control.

The poem “Jack Ruby Talks Business With the New Girl: November 21, 1963” is a fictional conversation between Ruby and one of his “dancers” (Ruby’s euphemism for “stripper”). It takes place the night before the Kennedy assassination. Ruby is unaware that in a short time the mob will make him an offer he can’t refuse: He must silence the unexpectedly captured Oswald before the conspiracy is revealed.

Also on the program are two works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Symphony No. 40 (the “Great” Symphony in G minor) and a concert aria, Per quest bella mano, as well as Michael Haydn’s Concerto for Two Horns in E-flat.



Featured on the Mozart aria is Department of Music chair Jeffrey Carter and Erik Harris, adjunct faculty at Webster and principal bassist for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Carter will also sing the solo part of the Portnoy piece. The Haydn concerto will feature Tricia Jöstlein, adjunct horn instructor at Webster, and her husband Thomas, who is a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

It promises to be an enriching and entertaining evening. Admission is $3 general admission, and free to students, faculty and staff with ID.


Category: Webster Events

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