High School Honor Orchestra

Date: September 28, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Thorley Recital Hall, SUU’s Music Building, Cedar City, UT.
Category: Arts and Entertainment

SUU to Host High School Honor Orchestra

September 28, 2013
Students rehearsing for SUU Orchestral event. Photo: Dannelle Cheney

 Photo credit: Students rehearsing for SUU Orchestral event. Photo: Dannelle Cheney

Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah: Fledgling musicians from high schools across the intermountain west are heading to Southern Utah University for a rich musical experience. SUU’s Department of Music hosts the High School Honor Orchestra which culminates with a free concert at Thorley Recital Hall in SUU’s Music Building on Saturday, September 28, 2013. This concert begins at a special time, 5pm and the public is invited to attend.

The High School Honor Orchestra features outstanding students from numerous high schools in Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The students are nominated by their school’s orchestra directors. The students will come to SUU for a series of clinics and work under the direction of Dr. Xun Sun, SUU Associate Professor/Director of Orchestral Activities, and alongside members of the SUU Symphony Orchestra. Guest artist Jack Ashton, violinist with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, will oversee select clinics.

The program for the free concert will include performances of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg No. 3 Finale and selections from Jean Sibelius’ Andante Festivo.  

Dr. Xun Sun serves as Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University, and teaching duties include conducting the SUU Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. He recently conducted the world premiere of the dance drama Dream of Helen, a co-production between SUU and China’s Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD, America Journey, featuring music by composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. He has conducted numerous operas including productions of Susanna, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. Dr. Sun continues to teach the master classes in conducting in Hunan, China. He serves as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah (OSU) and has made many appearances over the years in OSU’s concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU performed the world premiered the symphonic Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. Born in the city of Taiyuan, China, Dr. Sun began his formal music training and violin studies at Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China at age 11 through the government's scholarship program for exceptional music students. This substantial music training led him to successful graduate studies in United States. Under the Evelyn Ryan Nelson Concertmaster Fellowship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music, he earned a master’s degrees in Instrumental Conducting and Violin Performance from the conservatory of UMKC, and Doctor Degree in Education from Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York.

Jack Ashton was a violinist in the Utah Symphony for 49 years, former assistant principal 2nd violin, though now retired. He is the founder and director of Young Artist Chamber Players organization which comprises of four string orchestras that perform concerts at venues throughout Utah and southern Idaho. The young string players of various levels rehearse and perform with their musical peers. Ashton was Music Chairman of the Olympus High Music Department for 10 years and adjunct instructor of violin and viola at Snow College. He has performed at Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Rose Wagner Concert Auditorium, Abravanel Hall, The Assembly Hall on Temple Square, Springville Art Museum, BYU Art Museum, SUU’s Thorley Recital Hall, Westminster College and the St. George Tabernacle.

Don’t miss this special concert featuring the region’s finest young musicians. For information on SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts events, call Arts Hotline at (435) 865-8800 or visit