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Maestro Norman Gamboa is shown rehearsing the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra for Sunday's season opener, "Testament of Spirit." Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Gamboa to be featured guest conductor for Bemidji Symphony Orchestra

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Maestro Norman Gamboa, with an extensive repertoire in opera, ballet, chamber and symphonic orchestrations, will be the featured guest conductor for the debut of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra's 72nd season.

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A native of Chile, where he enjoys the title of Artistic Advisor of the Collegium Musicum in Santiago, Gamboa received his musical education in the United States at Baylor University in Texas and at the University of Arizona Las Vegas. While a faculty member at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, Gamboa also was the musical director and conductor of the Washburn Symphony Orchestra, which experienced growth in audiences, artistic maturity of the musicians and community outreach notable in youth orchestras.

Gamboa is in competition for conductor for the Power River Symphony in Gillette, Wyoming and has been invited to perform with the Louisiana State University in November.

He will travel to Costa Rica in December, but for now, he will be here in Bemidji.

As for the BSO and Bemidji, Gamboa said he's excited about leading the orchestra in Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, which will be included in Sunday's BSO concert.

He also is conducting the entire program during one rehearsal while Beverly Everett will be out of town in Washington, D.C., this week for a performance of "The Defiant Requiem," which is to be performed by the BSO in the spring.

"Norman Gamboa and I studied under the same mentor, Stephen Heyde at Baylor University," Everett said. "I have seen Norman conduct before and he is a talented conductor.

"He was looking to gain experience in conducting North American orchestras and I needed a guest for a rehearsal and one piece for this program so it was a win/win."

Gamboa is excited to conduct the chosen symphony.

"I have conducted it several times before and I like it because it is familiar to people," he said. "It has wonderful harmonic structure and it gives the orchestra a chance to show individual musicianship."

The familiar melodic strains of the first movement, "Morning Mood," begin with oboe and flute; visions of birds waking each other in the early morn. The different sections of the orchestra join in to represent the promise of a wondrous new day. The woodwinds and string sections, in competing interpretations of the theme, fulfill the expectation in a glorious conclusion.

It is a piece that is appreciated by all generations and nationalities, not only Norwegians proud of their native son, Edvard Grieg.

"The suite is familiar because parts of it are played in many instances for background music for movies and in television commercials," Gamboa said.

"In the Hall of the Mountain King," a movement in the Grieg suite, was background music for the Jedi Knights in "Star Wars" and was in the Harry Potter movies.

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