Composer Scores Another Coup

Wheeling native Charlie Wilmoth has scored another musical coup.

The young composer has been commissioned to write a new piece that will be debuted at a Carnegie Hall venue in New York City next March. The Carnegie Hall series, called “American Mavericks,” will include 17 events.

According to the Carnegie Hall website, Wilmoth’s piece will be played during a neighborhood concert titled “Alarm Will Sound.” The performance will take place at the Abrons Arts Center at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Alan Pierson, artistic director and conductor, will lead the concert.

The program will feature the world premiere of Wilmoth’s new work (as yet untitled). Included on the program will be performances of John Cage’s “Short Theatrical Works,” Elliot Sharp’s “Coriolis Effect,” Conlon Nancarrow’s “Study No. 2,” Terry Riley’s “Across the Lake of the Ancient World” (from “Shri Camel”) and “Poeme Electronique” by Edgard Varese.

Wilmoth is the son of Becky and William Wilmoth of Wheeling.

  • ??

On another musical note, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra concluded its 2010-11 season Friday, May 20, with a spectacular performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. Maestro Andre Raphel and the 99-member orchestra received several well-deserved ovations at the conclusion of the dramatic piece.

With its “Magnificent Mahler” program, the Wheeling Symphony joined orchestras around the world in marking the 150th anniversary season of Mahler’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death.

During intermission of the Masterworks concert, Gail Looney introduced the four area musicians (two young women and two young men) who are the 2011 recipients of the Rachael Worby music scholarships. The gifted music students were introduced again at a reception in the Capitol ballroom after the concert. Guests at the reception were treated to performances by each of the college-bound scholarship winners.

  • ??

When historian John E. Vacha of Cleveland appeared at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday, May 24, to speak of the Fugitive Slave Law case against runaway slave Sara Lucy Bagby of Wheeling, he showed an illustration of the federal courthouse in Cleveland where Bagby’s hearing was conducted in January 1861.

Immediately, several audience members noticed that the design of the federal courthouse in Cleveland appeared to be nearly identical to our own West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling.

As it turns out, the striking resemblance of the two structures was no accident. Ammi B. Young, official architect for the U.S. Department of Treasury, designed both buildings. Cleveland’s first U.S. Post Office was built on the east side of Public Square in 1858. The federal custom house (now known as WVIH) in Wheeling was built in 1859.

A drawing depicting Cleveland’s old building (which is no longer standing) is featured in Vacha’s book, “Beyond Bayonets: The Civil War in Northern Ohio.” The author said the Italian Renaissance building was replaced on the same site in 1910 by a federal building now called the Howard M. Metzembaum Federal Courthouse.

Until library audience members pointed it out, Vacha was not aware of West Virginia Independence Hall or of the similarities between the two former federal facilities. After completing the Lunch With Books program at the library, Vacha headed down the street to visit West Virginia Independence Hall for the first time. We’re told that the Case Western Reserve University faculty member was quite impressed by the National Historic Landmark, and he indicated that he plans to return to WVIH for another visit.

  • ??

While fellow columnist Al Molnar is usually the one making this sort of discovery, I met a gentleman in Belmont County who had ripe tomatoes on the vine in his home garden early last week. For details, read the Boomers and Beyond section in the Wednesday, June 1, edition of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: