Concerto for Viola and Orchestra

Title: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
Date of Composition: Copyright © 2003 Daniel Bukvich
Level of Difficulty: University/Professional
Instrumentation: Solo Viola and Orchestra
Performance Time: 28:30
Publisher: Manuscript
Dedication Mary Clement Sanks
Program Notes:

The roots of this concerto stem in part from the gratitude composer Dan Bukvich feels towards his inspiration and mentor, Mary Clement Sanks, as well as from the encouragement of Great Falls Symphony Music Director Gordon Johnson to continue the very positive collaboration begun with the 40th Anniversary commissioning of “From the Journals of Lewis and Clark”, and the later composition for the association’s Endowment campaign “Fanfare for the Future.”

Mary Clement Sanks was literally raised in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music which was started by her mother and aunt. Mary sang in the children's chorus, studied with composer Ernest Bloch “Uncle Ernie”, took violin lessons from her father, a teacher of many beginning students, among them, Isaac Stern. As an adult Mary taught at the University of Utah and at Montana State University. In 1971 she started the Adult Chamber Music Festival in Bozeman. The festival has since grown to bring musicians together throughout the entire U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe. A beloved figure on campus, she was a superb violinist and piano accompanist who radiated a quiet, calming confidence to all who shared music with her. To her memory Dan dedicates this composition.


The main theme of the concerto is based on Ravel’s musical alphabet and spells the name MARY CLEMENT SANKS in sound.

a = a, h, o, v; b = b, i, p, w; c = c, j, q, x; d = d, k, r, y; e = e, l, s, z; f = f, m, t; g = g, n, u

The formal structure of the concerto is as follows:

  • Solo viola “spells” Mary’s name, joined by strings
  • Viola choir (thanks to the suggestion of Gordon Johnson) introduces a modal chant
  • African Dance (I spent many enjoyable hours with Bob and Mary Sanks listening to Bob’s recording of “The Royal Watusi Drums”)
  • “Jenny's Cadenza” (from our collaboration in the spring of 2002)
  • Viola Canon (built from the opening themes of famous viola pieces)
  • Tango (oboe and bassoon imitate sounds of a traditional tango band) In response to Jenny's love of tango
  • Viola Cadenza (ala composer Ernest Bloch)
  • Viola + Marimba
  • “Marimba Drumming” (the Marimba placed as it is in Africa-players facing each other)
  • Percussion Cadenza
  • String Quartet
  • African Dance (reprise)
  • Tango Variation (The developmental section of a traditional tango with fast, sixteenth-note musical figures)
  • Return of the Main “Tango” theme
  • Viola Cadenza
  • Finale
Recordings: Details about recording(s):
  • Performer(s): Great Falls Symphony
  • Conductor: Gordon J. Johnson
  • Soloists: Jennifer Smith, viola
  • Location: Civic Center Mansfield Theater - Great Falls, Montana
  • Date recorded: March 1, 2003
  • (better quality than previously posted recording)

File(s) available:

Recording(s) posted: [2009-10-05 15:24:42]

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