CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University announced that one of the newest faculty members in WT’s School of Music will be a featured soloist in the WT Symphony Orchestra Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall.

Officials with WT detailed that Dr. Conor Bell was hired this fall as the assistant professor of bassoon, filling the position after Dr. Tina Carpenter – one of his mentors – retired in May after 37 years at WT.

“There’s definitely a lot of legacy to live up to, considering how long she taught here and all of the things her students have accomplished in their careers,” Bell said about Carpenter. “I’ve been thinking a lot about my early performing experiences working with her, and learning how to effectively communicate your vision as a soloist is something I worked on a lot with her when I was here. She helped me become a better performer.”

Bell, also a WT alumni, is set to perform as a soloist at the upcoming free concert, returning to the ensemble several years after performing as a member.

“This was the first orchestra I played with regularly,” said Bell, who most recently taught at Middle Tennessee State University and remains principal bassoonist for the Owensboro Symphony. “I’ve played with lots of different orchestras and various ensembles in my career since then, so this is a nice full-circle moment to come back.”

The performance will be free to the public and see Bell perform the second and third movements of Carl Maria Von Weber’s Bassoon Concerto with the orchestra. Officials added that the concert will feature a high school string trio, Ensemble Next, coached by Evgeny Zvonnikov, WT’s Harrington lecturer in violin.

The Ensemble Next project offers select students music lessons from Zvonnikov and guest artists along with performance opportunities.

The concert, officials noted, will also feature classical favorites including Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter” Overture and Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.”

“We’ve prepared an evening of delightful symphonic works to welcome you to the weekend —the superb musicianship of Dr. Bell, the emotional depth of Grieg, and the fireworks of Rimsky-Korsakov will take you on a very satisfying ride,” said Dr. Mark Bartley, WT’s director of orchestral activities and the Lilith Brainard Professor of Music.

WT noted that Bell graduated from WT in 2013 and then earned a master’s and doctoral degree from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

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