Simpson University Music Professor Premieres Concerto with North State Symphony

For Immediate Release


NSS Infectious Rhythms

REDDING, Calif.—The North State Symphony premiered an original concerto by Simpson University music professor Dan Pinkston during its fall concert series this month, one of several accomplishments this year by the award-winning composer.

“Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” was performed during symphony shows on Nov. 11 and 12 in Chico and Redding. The piece was commissioned by two local arts supporters and featured world-renowned violinist Chloe Trevor as soloist.

Dr. Pinkston took the stage at both concerts to shake hands with Trevor and conductor Scott Seaton and acknowledge audience applause.

Dan Pinkston“It was a really powerful experience to hear my concerto twice,” he said. “The soloist, conductor and orchestra really got the passion and power of the piece. I was honored and am so grateful.”

This marked the third time a local symphony has premiered an original composition by Dr. Pinkston, who chairs Simpson’s Music Department. His “Symphony No. 1” was performed by the North State Symphony in 2010; “Symphony No. 2,” was commissioned and performed by the Shasta Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

Seaton described the Concerto as “a wonderfully dark piece that pulls you in to a world of orchestral color not experienced often.”

The piece, which took more than a year to compose, has three movements played without pause, followed by a passionate cadenza and calm coda. Typical of Dr. Pinkston’s other compositions, it incorporates a variety of styles. It also features a few melodic “quotes”—from Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Depeche Mode’s “Somebody,” among others—that were added “as tributes to the genius of their composers,” Dr. Pinkston said.

The piece includes a lot of interplay between different orchestra sections. “It has moments where the listener feels that they could be at some sort of jazz or rock event,” Seaton said.

“As a fan of 20th century minimalism, I was thrilled that Dan incorporated a lot of these elements into the solo violin writing,” he added. “He has a way of drawing the listener in and transporting to another world where you’re forced to exist blissfully in the present without any hint of what is to come.”

He noted that a number of audience members approached him after the concerts and shared that the new piece on the program was their favorite. The orchestra also performed pieces by Berlioz, Ravel, Moncayo, and Stravinsky.

Dr. Pinkston is an award-winning composer who has taught at Simpson University since 2001. Born to missionary parents, he grew up in Africa’s Ivory Coast, returning to the U.S. for college and graduate school.

Recent winner of an ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Plus Award for 2017 for achievements and excellence in music composition, Dr. Pinkston will serve as the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area’s first composer-in-residence, composing a piece inspired by his time there that he hopes to have performed at several public venues throughout Redding.

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Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


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