Ensemble Concert Series with Kevin Day


Bobby Francis conducting the Wind Symphony Orchestra in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU.

Bobby Francis conducting the Wind Symphony Orchestra in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU.

Enjoy an evening of musical excellence with the Ensemble Concert Series: Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band Concert conducted by Bobby Francis and Brian Youngblood on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall. The concert will feature “Metallic Figure” and “J.R.,” written by internationally acclaimed musician and alum Kevin Day.

Day is a leading voice in music composition, with his “Concerto for Wind Ensemble” considered for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize. He made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall at the 2022 New York International Music Festival and serves as the Vice President of the Millennium Composers Initiative, a collective of more than 120 global composers.

“Kevin made a name for himself, and it was completely deserved. The quality of his writing is artistic, sophisticated and moving all at the same time,” said Bobby Francis, professor and director of bands.

An Emerging Artist

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Walking along the football field during the national anthem, Francis shared with Day an up-close view of the excitement and possibilities of attending the School of Music.

Day soon arrived on campus as a first-year student eager to earn a Bachelor of Music in Performance and cultivate his natural talents. He became a skillful pianist with the TCU Jazz Ensemble and played both the tuba and euphonium for the TCU Wind Symphony.

Kevin Day

Kevin Day. Photo by Sara Bill Photography/Karen Cubides Agency

“We do blind auditions each year for placement in the orchestra,” said Francis. “Day would audition on both instruments and come in first; it was just a matter of what he wanted to play that year.”

During his second year, Day composed original music and shared mini recordings of each piece with Francis and other professors. The TCU Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band began playing Day’s music several years ago and premiered his euphonium concerto at the 2019 College Band Directors National Association in Tempe, Arizona. The career-opening performance featured guest artist Demondrae Thurman, an internationally renowned euphonium soloist.

“After the performance, I pointed to the section for Kevin to stand up for his conductor recognition. Everyone was surprised and wondered how a young man could write that kind of music,” said Francis.

Day was commissioned on the spot to write a concerto for a renowned trumpet soloist. The TCU symphony orchestra premiered the trumpet concerto at the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio the following year.

“He is taking the world by storm and now works with major wind ensembles and orchestras as well all internationally renowned chamber groups and has been commissioned by international chamber groups,” said Francis.

Ensemble Concert  

The Ensemble Concert Series: Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band Concert will be performed in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall. Clay Garett, an adjunct professor in tuba and euphonium, will perform the soloist piece.  ­­

Day will attend symphony rehearsals of his pieces “Metallic Figures” and “J.R.” and provide masterclasses to composition students. Francis is excited for the Wind Symphony to perform the concerto for the TCU community.

“I’ve been at TCU for 23 years and truly enjoy making music with wonderfully talented students. It sounds cliché, but that’s why I teach,” said Francis. 

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