Thu October 19 | 7:30 PM


In this encore performance, we pay tribute to the life and legacy of runner Steve Prefontaine, paired with David Schiff’s Stomp: Re-Lit and two chamber pieces.


October 19, 2023 7:30 PM


Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Chloe Tula, harp
Searmi Park, violin

Handel | Harp Concerto

Vivaldi | Violin Concerto in E minor

David Schiff | PREFONTAINE

The audience at the June 2022 premiere of Oregon composer David Schiff’s PREFONTAINE was thrilled and moved to tears, so we are proud to present this encore performance as we celebrate the life and legacy of legendary runner Steve Prefontaine. At the top of the program, we’ll hear another of Schiff’s works, Stomp: Re-Lit, a tribute to the Soul music legend James Brown. In between, Francesco will play harpsichord as he and the orchestra accompany two of his favorite musicians with whom to collaborate: harpist Chloe Tula in George Frideric Handel’s blissful Harp Concerto and Concertmaster Searmi Park in Antonio Vivaldi’s bustling Violin Concerto.

This concert will be broadcast on KWAX 91.1 on Friday, November 10, at 10 am.


  • Listen to the below Spotify playlist, curated by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, to hear other works by Oregon-based composer David Schiff, as well as a preview of the other pieces featured on this program.
  • Read our First-Timers Guide to brush up on orchestra vocabulary and find out what to expect from a concert at the Hult Center

About David Schiff

David Schiff

David Schiff is a highly respected and accomplished composer and a distinguished writer on music and culture. Born in New York City, he began composing as a child, but he elected to major in English literature during his undergraduate studies at Columbia College (Columbia University). During the 1960s, Columbia was a major center of new music and exciting new developments, with such important composers on its faculty as Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, pioneers in electronic tape music; Jack Beeson, the celebrated opera composer; and, from the younger generation, Harvey Sollberger and Charles Wuorinen, who jointly directed the groundbreaking Group for Contemporary Music, to which Columbia played host. Schiff could not have resisted that influence, and indeed, after earning a master’s degree at Cambridge University in England, he returned to New York to study composition at the Manhattan School of Music, where he worked with John Corigliano (a former student of Luening’s at Columbia) and Ursula Mamlok. Following that, he earned his doctorate in composition at The Juilliard School, where his principal mentor was Elliott Carter—widely considered one of the deans of serious American composers. Schiff’s association with Carter led to his first major literary endeavor, a book about his teacher’s work. Published in 1983, The Music of Elliott Carter was the first book-length study of Carter’s challenging music and the various forces behind it, and it brought Carter to the attention of many outside new music circles.

Although he is one of Carter’s most prominent and successful students, Schiff’s music bears little if any resemblance to his teacher’s style and rigorous, intellectual, and nontonal approach. Rather, Schiff has turned, for example, to jazz in a number of pieces, such as Scenes from Adolescence (1987), a chamber work for which Schiff acknowledges a composite debt of influence to Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Sidney Bechet, and especially Charles Mingus; Shtik (1992), for bass trombone and jazz ensemble; Four Sisters (1997), a concerto for violin and orchestra; Low Life, for solo bass trombone and jazz orchestra; and Pepper Pieces, arrangements of songs by Jim Pepper for the jazz violinist Hollis Taylor and string ensemble. Schiff’s interest in jazz as a powerful influence to be tapped for concert music extends beyond his own compositions. His second book, published in 1997, is a study of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue: probably the best-known example of a synergy between jazz and blues on the one hand and classical European traditions on the other.

Jazz has hardly been the exclusive influence on Schiff’s music, nor the only wellspring from which he has drawn. Major American as well as European modernists have also played a major role in shaping his creativity—especially Stravinsky and Bartók, whose impact is felt in many of his pieces.

Schiff’s deep commitment to his Jewish heritage has left its stamp on a number of his works, apart, of course, from the obvious—and still the most famous—example of Gimpel the Fool. One of his most important liturgical works is his Sabbath eve service, Avodat Bet Yisrael (1983), commissioned for the 125th anniversary of Congregation Beth Israel in Schiff’s home city since 1980, Portland, Oregon (a congregation that was founded in 1858, the year before Oregon had become a state). This service is believed to be the first full synagogue service written specifically for the special characteristics of a soprano cantorial voice (in this case, Schiff’s wife, Judith, an invested cantor in the Reform movement). The other significant liturgical works are Hallel (1988), for cantor, choir, and organ; and a setting of the k’dusha (lit., sanctification) liturgy (1991), under that title. He has also written an operatic-dramatic cantata, or chamber opera, Vashti, or the Whole Megillah (1997)—based on the Book of Esther.

Schiff began work on a second full opera, Dubliners, after James Joyce, but when a Broadway show emerged on the same subject, he abandoned his project, and it remains uncompleted. The work he did on it gave rise to several instrumental pieces bearing the shared title Joycesketch. Other significant compositions include Slow Dance (1989), written on a commission from the Oregon Symphony; Stomp (1990); Solus Rex (1992), for bass trombone and chamber ensemble, commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and premiered by bass trombonist David Taylor; Speaking in Drums (1995), a concerto for timpani and string orchestra commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra; Canti di Davide (2001), a concerto for clarinet and orchestra composed for clarinetist David Shifrin; and New York Nocturnes, a piano trio written for Chamber Music Northwest.

Schiff’s music has been performed by many major American orchestras and has been issued on recordings by the Delos, New World, Argo, and Naxos labels. He continues to write, especially about 20th-century music—but often in a wider historical context—and he contributes major articles frequently to The New York Times. He is also a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly, where his essays appear regularly.

Schiff has been a professor at Reed College in Portland since 1980, and he has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP (the Deems Taylor Award), and League of Composers / ISCM.

About Chloe Tula

Chloe Tula

American harpist Chloe Tula has been widely recognized as a rising talent in the classical music world. She was recently named Principal Harpist of the Omaha Symphony, and begins performing in that role in the 2022-23 season.

Uniquely at ease as both a featured soloist and orchestral musician, Ms. Tula has enjoyed a varied career spanning across the United States, most recently having completed a three-year fellowship at the New World Symphony (NWS), in Miami Beach, Florida, where she was lauded as a "standout" with "keen musicianship and elegance" (South Florida Classical Review).

In demand for the musicality and clarity she brings to the orchestra, her many orchestral engagements have included performances with San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, and The Knights (NYC), in addition to her positions at the Omaha Symphony and the New World Symphony. She has had the privilege of having worked with conductors from all over the world, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, John Williams, and Stephane Dénève, and appeared in performances alongside artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Itzhak Perlman, Johannes Moser, Augustin Hadelich, and many others. Since relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2020, she has enjoyed numerous opportunities playing with the many ensembles of the area, including the San Francisco Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Opera San Jose, California Symphony, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

Ms. Tula’s summer festival appearances have spanned across the country, as well. In addition to serving on faculty and performing at Festival Napa Valley, she has performed at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, Tanglewood Music Center, and Aspen Music Festival and School.

Since making her solo debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the age of sixteen, Ms. Tula has established herself as a prizewinning harpist. She was a top prize winner in the 2019 Ima Hogg Competition, resulting in her concerto debut with the Houston Symphony, performing Ginastera’s Harp Concerto. In 2018, she made her concerto debut with the New World Symphony, in highly acclaimed performances of Glière’s Concerto for Harp. In 2014, she won the Anne Adams Awards, a biennial national competition for solo harpists sponsored by the American Harp Society, as well as first prize in the Mildred Milligan Harp Competition.

A Wisconsin native, Ms. Tula received her Bachelor’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where she studied with Paula Page, former Principal Harpist of the Houston Symphony. Prior to that, she studied with Danis Kelly, former Principal Harpist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera. Ms. Tula plays on a Lyon & Healy Salzedo model from 2015 and a Style 100 model from 2018. When not playing the harp, she enjoys adding to her shoe collection, tending to her culinary garden, hosting dinner parties, and spending time with her husband, Francesco, and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Hibiki.

About Searmi Park

Searmi Park

Searmi Park served as Concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony 2013-2017 before joining the Oregon Symphony as a member of their violin section in 2017. Previously a member of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for ten years, Searmi has played as guest concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Bolshoi Ballet, New West Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, and Miami City Ballet.

Searmi recently resigned from her full-time position with the Oregon Symphony to start a nonprofit organization called Autism Mustang Alliance, providing no-cost equine-assisted programs for teens and adults on the autism spectrum. Searmi returned as Concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony in the fall of 2022.

Park spent summers studying chamber music in Taos, New Mexico with the Takács and Chicago string quartets. She also studied with pianist Robert McDonald and at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival. She has played and taught at festivals in South Africa and Portugal, and participated in the Oregon Bach Festival and Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo.

Park was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she began playing the violin at age six. She continued her studies at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and went on to receive her B.A. and M.M. at UCLA under violinist Mark Kaplan. She currently lives with her family in the beautiful Oregon countryside, playing with their mustangs and raising goats, pigs, ducks, and chickens.


The health and safety of Eugene Symphony audience members, musicians, and staff members has been and will always be our top priority. We strongly welcome and encourage patrons who wish to continue wearing masks while attending performances to do so. We want all of our attendees to feel comfortable and accepted in your choice. You take care of you, we'll take care of the music and ensuring that your experience attending a Eugene Symphony concert remains exceptional.

For the most up to date health and safety protocols for our concerts, visit our Eugene Symphony Safety page.

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