Friday, February 1, 2013

Familiar Face Among the BBC Concert Orchestra

You may recognize a familiar Fox Cities name among the composers for next Tuesday night's performance by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Alongside Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar and George Butterworth, you can expect to see Appleton resident and composer, Maury Laws.

Shortly before the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center opened in 2002, Maury Laws was asked to compose a "Fanfare" to be played over the sound system, reminding everyone that the performance was about to begin or resume. He wrote the 10 second fanfare for brass quintet.

In honor of the Center's 10th Anniversary, Laws has expanded the motif into a longer piece. Keith Lockhart agreed to include it in the program featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra, so the modest reminder has become the opening fanfare of this special evening. The music suggests the activities that take place backstage as performers ready themselves for the opening curtain. The piece is called “Curtain Call.” 

Maury Laws began playing the guitar and singing at the age of 12. By age 16, he was a featured soloist with local dance bands and jazz groups in his native North Carolina. After returning from World War II, he performed in clubs and theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. He eventually settled in New York where he pursued a formal education in music. Among his teachers was Tibor Serly, the associate of Bela Bartok. In the early days of television, he appeared with vocal groups on the most popular variety shows while writing arrangements for many of the top recording artists of the 1950s and ’60s. In 1964, Maury became the musical director for the animated production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

He went on to compose, arrange and conduct music for more than 30
television specials and films including “The Hobbit,” which won a Peabody Award and received an Emmy nomination. He also composed for the off-Broadway theater and scored symphonic works for orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. His most recent works include “The Baseball Music Project” with Fred Sturm and featuring Hall of Fame great, Dave Winfield.

In 2011, Maury was inducted into the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He also received the 2012 Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts. More  information about his work can be seen at

Tickets for the BBC Concert Orchestra start at $35. 

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