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A Brahms farewell from Dr. William McCann: 40th Anniversary Retirement Celebration Recital

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NEW PALTZ -- Retiring professor and virtuoso, Dr. William McCann will be the featured performer in a special farewell recital in his honor on Tuesday, February 26, at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre at the State University of New York at New Paltz. A reception for Dr. McCann will follow the recital.

The centerpiece of the program will be Johannes Brahms’s Horn Trio in E flat, Op. 40 in which Dr. McCann will play the French horn, assisted by Dr. Carole Cowan, violin and Dr. Ruthanne Schempf, piano.

Dr. McCann’s 43-year teaching and performing career began at Kent State University and at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee prior to his joining the SUNY faculty in 1968. He earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and his Doctorate from the Catholic University of America.

Subsequently, he joined the horn section of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in 1970 and won the audition for Principal Horn in 1975, a post he held for 25 years. He continues to perform regularly with the Orchestra. His career as French hornist includes solo performance with the HVP, and chamber recitals in Germany, New York City, and at the International Horn Society Conference.

Over his extended tenure at SUNY New Paltz, Dr. McCann taught a variety of music theory and history courses, as well as serving as conductor for the Symphonic Band. He will conduct his last concert with the Symphonic Band on Tuesday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. in the Julien J. Studley Theatre.

The Horn Trio in E Flat, Op. 40 is a special piece of music. It is the most important substantial piece of chamber music written for horn in the nineteenth century. The combination of violin, horn and piano, was almost unheard of until Brahms wrote for it, and evidence of his success can be seen in the many horn trios written since.

The evening’s program will also include Reinhold Gliere’s Nocturne, Op. 35 No. 10.

Nocturne is a romantic composition intended to embody sentiments appropriate to the evening or night – a pensive melody, a reverie.

Tickets for Dr. William McCann’s retirement celebration recital are $6 general admission, $4 seniors/staff, $3 students and can be purchased one half hour prior to the performance at McKenna Theatre.

For additional information call (845) 257-3872 or visit