The New River Valley Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Tech Combined Choirs, Blacksburg Master Chorale, and Blacksburg Children’s Chorale will culminate the 2018 spring semester in a show of musical force with a fully orchestrated performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” presented by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts on May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre of the Moss Arts Center. 

One of the best known pieces of classical music, “Carmina Burana” was composed in the mid-1930s and is based on 24 of the 254 poems from the medieval collection written in the 11th and 12th centuries. The piece will be performed by more than 200 musicians as it was originally scored.

“The department assembles a major work such as this every other year,” said Dwight Bigler, music faculty member and conductor. “When deciding on a concert piece, the department considers the magnitude of the piece, the historical significance, and the instrumentation because we want to provide a diverse musical experience for our students from year to year.”

One of Bigler’s favorites of the 25 movements is number 14, “In taberna quando sumus,” which translates to “When we are in the tavern.” Bigler described the piece as “one of the most well-known drinking songs in classical music.” He then laughed as he added, “This is the only drinking song I know of that must be performed by completely sober singers because it’s so fast, with so many words!”

Rachael Glasgow, a sophomore majoring in music education and performance from Williamsburg, Virginia, will play second horn during the concert. She said when she learned that “Carmina Burana” would be performed, she was excited because “it was on my list of top orchestral works.” 

Glasgow called the piece “iconic” and added that while her friends may not recognize the title, their faces light up after they hear the first few notes.

“It’s similar to a ‘Star Wars’ orchestral piece in terms of recognizability,” she said, “which is one of the major reasons it’s so enjoyable for people of all ages.”

Tickets and parking

Tickets for “Carmina Burana” are $10 for general admission and $7 for students. Tickets may be purchased online, at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, or by calling 540-231-5300. Tickets will also be available at the box office beginning one hour prior to the performance.

The Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre is located in the Moss Arts Center at 190 Alumni Mall on the campus of Virginia Tech. Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Limited street parking is available as well. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire accommodation, please contact Susan Sanders at 540-231-5200 or susansan@vt.edu during regular business hours at least eight business days prior to the event. 

Written by Jessica Talmadge, of Santa Barbara, California, a graduate student studying arts leadership in the School of Performing Arts.