Passion & Longing

October 19 & 20, 2019

Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Sarasate Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
Puccini “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique

One of music’s most extraordinary powers is its capacity to say what words cannot. The Juneau Symphony will take you on a dramatic and emotional journey like no other. From the wistful nostalgia of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and wry humor of Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture to the searing triumph and despair of Tchaikovsky’s great and final Symphony No. 6, let us transport you to new worlds and lived experiences.  Featuring soprano Jennifer Forni and Youth Solo Competition winner Alexander Yu.

Christopher Koch

Music Director Finalist

Christopher Koch is currently Associate Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra and Wind Symphony at Drury University where he conducts the Drury Chamber Orchestra, Drury Wind Symphony and the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra and teaches conducting, instrumental literature, and chamber music. Previously, he served as Director of Instrumental Music at Bethel College, where he conducted the orchestra, opera, and wind ensemble, and taught applied flute. He received his Bachelor of Music degrees in flute performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music, Master of Music degrees in flute and orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Washington. He has been music director of the Kansas City Repertory Orchestra, the Saint Lawrence Ensemble, and the Sydney (Australia) Flute Choir; assistant conductor of the Colorado Mahlerfest Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the University of Rochester Symphony, and the Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra, Opera, and Musica Nova.

During his years at Bethel College, he served as Associate Conductor of the Salina Symphony Orchestra and conducted performances with the Hutchinson, Newton Mid-Kansas, and Timberline Symphony Orchestras. While in Seattle, he served as Chair of Music at the Northwest School, faculty at the Seattle Conservatory of Music, and as an interim professor at the University of Washington, where he conducted the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. In 1996, he received the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Australia, where he was an active conductor and adjudicator. Dr. Koch is also a contributing author for the book series A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis, and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band (Meredith Music Publications).

Jennifer Forni


Praised for her “warm, gleaming lyric soprano” voice (Washington Post), American soprano Jennifer Forni is quickly distinguishing herself as a dynamic singer possessing the raw yet luxurious power of a classic full lyric soprano.  Always “attentive to the subtler points of interpretive expression” (The Baltimore Sun), Ms. Forni, while possessing a “fuller lyric sound” (Opera News) has maintained the ability to float stunningly-spun pianissimo above the staff.

Jennifer was granted the Evelyn Puddy Oliver Scholarship to attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She continued her studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she received a Master of Opera. During this time, she was personally selected by Marilyn Horne to represent the university in The Song Continues master class series at Carnegie Hall.

Jennifer is a former member of the Portland Opera Studio, where she appeared in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Il Ballo delle Ingrate, and Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Jennifer is equally at home on the concert stage, performing such works as Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony at Carnegie Hall with the New York Choral Society, the Fauré and Rutter Requiems (also at Carnegie Hall) with Mid-America Productions, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Oregon Mozart Players, and Mahler”s Symphony No. 2 with the Greeley Philharmonic. During her Portland Opera debut recital she was hailed for her performance of Strauss’s legendary work the Vier Letzte Lieder. “She shone spectacularly in Strauss’s Four Last Songs. Brava Ms. Forni.” (Stephen Llewellyn, Portland Opera official blog).

In recent years Jennifer has returned to Portland Opera for such roles as Tatyana in their brand new production of Eugene Onegin, under the direction of Kevin Newbury. She also appeared as Musetta in their production of La Boheme.  Jennifer returns to Portland this summer to sing the Chants d’Auvergne in the Oregon Music Festival.

Alexander Yu

2019 Youth Solo Competition Winner

Alexander Yu, 15, was concert master of the Juneau Student Symphony from 2016 to 2018 and has performed with the Juneau Symphony. This season marks his first solo performance with the Symphony as the 2019 winner of the Senior Division of the Juneau Symphony Youth Solo Competition.

Alex began studying violin at the age of 4 with teacher Mr. Guohua Xia. He joined the Ursa Minor string Ensemble at the age of 7; he also joined the Juneau Student Symphony in 2015 and played with it for three years. He now plays with the advanced ensemble Aurora Strings and the Crimson String Quartet. “As a teacher, I like that Alex is always eager to learn new things and challenge himself,” Mr. Xia said.

As the winner of Junior Youth Solo Competition of 2017, Alex earned the opportunity to play solo with the Juneau Student Symphony, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor — 1 st Movement.

Although violin is his first interest, Alex also plays xylophone and piano. In 2017, Alex was selected as a piano soloist and performed Schubert’s “Military March “ with the Juneau Student Symphony.

He also participated in the 2018 All State Music Festival. This summer Alex was the youngest musician participating in the intensive concerto program at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, which draws performers from around the state.