From the Philadelphia Enquirer, Dec. 3, 1964
At Museum of Art
Amerita Strings Open in Bow To Shakespeare
By DANIEL WEBSTER
The Amerita String Orchestra made its nod to Shakespeare -- and to novely -- in opening its eight season Wednesday at Van Pelt Auditorium of the Museum of Art.
The 14 string players we joined by oboist John de Lancie and hornists Robert Fries and Ward Fearn for a program of the Italian Baroque and two works of this century written on Shakespearean bases.
Of chief interest was the Shakespearean Concerto for Oboe and Horns by David Amram, a Philadelphian whose music has accompanied 21 of Joseph Papp's Shakespearean productions in Central Park.
BASED ON OWN SONG
The finale, while it posed problems for the performers, is a witty rondo in which the blues peep out through the texture and the composer included percussive effects obtained through tapping the violin bodies with the fingers.
The opening movement tested the hornists' skills in a movement that pitted the three solo instruments against the body of the orchestra.
Amram shared the applause with the performers on the stage. The group played two of William Walton's pieces from the film score to "Henry V." as further obeisance to the Bard. The performances of these well crafted but slight selections were colorful.
Fries and Feran were also featured in the concluding Sinfonia "Della Serenata" by Baldasaare Galuppi. Thelr roles here required delicate playing, not as soloists but in reinforcing the brisk melodic line. This work provided the orchestra with some of its finest moments in the dialogue between first ant second violin in the second movement.
Changes have been made in the group. Frank Costanzo has become music director and violist Carlton Cooley provides the conductor's guidance from his stand.