Symphony concert to celebrate diversity


Adrian Anantawan, a guest violinist originally from Canada, is performing alongside the Iowa State Symphony Orchestra for the Symphony of Diversity event.

Morrgan Zmolek

The Iowa State Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the Lectures Program, is presenting the Symphony of Diversity event with guest violinist Adrian Anantawan.

This event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Stephens Auditorium. It is free and open for the entire community.

In the first orchestral-only concert in 20 years to be hosted at Stephens Auditorium, the Symphony Orchestra and their conductor, assistant professor and Director of Orchestral Activities Jonathan Govias, aim to encapsulate the diversity of people.

“The orchestra is celebrating, through music, a world that is a symphony of diversity,” Govias said. “The orchestra is a great analogy for diversity, too. What gives it the richness and the color and the depth is the fact that you have all these different families, all these different voices, all these different timbres and colors that come out of it. This concert is about celebrating human beings, all of them, not just the ones we’d usually find in the concert hall.”

This concert will include five pieces from five different cultural groups, according to the lecture series website: American, Sweden, African American, Canadian and Mexican. Several of these pieces were also written by female composers.

Performing alongside the orchestra is Anantawan, a guest violinist originally from Canada. According to his website, Anantawan received his education from Curtis Institute of Music, one of the most prestigious music schools in the United States, Yale University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“I always thought he had a really remarkable story of just human perseverance and determination,” Govias said. “People who are born missing a limb are usually told to not even bother, and he bothered against all the advice. He’s not invited here because he’s missing a hand; he’s invited here because he’s a fabulous violinist who just so happens to be missing a hand. He’s part of a physical minority, but stop right there and listen to him play, and he is an artist of absolute merit.”

There are 17 academic units and administrative divisions from the university who are helping sponsor this event, Govias said.

“There’s a lot of support from across the campus for the event,” Govias said. “It’s very clearly near and dear to the values of a lot of the leadership here.”