The BYU Wind Symphony Promotes Cancer Awareness, Research With ‘Concerto for Hope’
The piece tells the story of former Canadian Brass trumpet player Ryan Anthony’s experience with cancer
The BYU Wind Symphony will close the semester with a de Jong Concert Hall performance on April 12.
For ensemble director Don Peterson, the highlight of the campus concert is the chance to showcase trumpet professor Jason Bergman on a unique contemporary work that has become a significant part of a movement to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
“Concerto for Hope” was composed by James Stephenson for his friend, former Canadian Brass member and current Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet player Ryan Anthony. The movements of the piece chronicle the story and emotional phases of Anthony’s diagnosis and life with multiple myeloma — a terminal cancer of the blood.
“When Don Peterson invited me to perform with the Wind Symphony, I knew that I wanted to play ‘Concerto for Hope,’” said Bergman. “At first, I was apprehensive. This piece is all about Ryan — his story, his life and his mission. Nobody can play it like he does. However, after talking with him, it was clear that he wants other trumpet players to take their chance performing this piece.”
The performance holds personal significance for Bergman, as Anthony is both a colleague and a friend. The two trumpet players have worked together in multiple venues and capacities over the years, including a shared involvement in Bergman’s hometown orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Anthony received his diagnosis in 2012, six years after becoming the Texas ensemble’s principal trumpet player. In 2014, he created the Ryan Anthony Foundation to support and manage his Cancer Blows fundraising musical events. He continues to perform when his health permits, inspiring brass players around the world — including the members of the BYU Wind Symphony.
“We all adore Ryan and look up to him,” said Bergman. “We can never play this piece as he does, with the passion, life experience and meaning that he conjures when he performs, but we can give our voice to the mission of Cancer Blows. I want others to not only become aware of how to join the fight against cancer, but to also help others know about Ryan’s story. He’s become a legend and a true inspiration. He’s one of my heroes – as a trumpet player, an artist, a fighter and as a man.”
In addition to drawing attention to Stephenson’s powerful music and Anthony’s work with his foundation, Bergman hopes that the Wind Symphony performance will inspire audiences to find courage and meaning in their own lives.
“I may not fight Ryan’s same battle, but I fight my own, just like we all do,” said Bergman. “This piece reminds me that we can all have a mission and we can all make a difference. I hope people experience a portion of that while they listen to the piece. Furthermore, I think we all have people we care about who have been touched by cancer. We can relate to Ryan’s story and we can experience it as we listen to or perform this piece.”
Bergman is grateful for the chance to join the Wind Symphony on their tour to his home state of Texas in May and rekindle a relationship with the ensemble that had a deep impact on his own BYU experience and subsequent career.
“I’m fortunate to be able to perform again with the Wind Symphony and to go on another tour,” he said. “I feel a long-standing connection with the ensemble, its history, its conductors — who are important mentors to me — and to its role in the mission of BYU. This performance and our tour is going to be truly special, and I’m so grateful to Don Peterson for his invitation and for providing these experiences for our students, our audience and me.”
Tickets and Show Details
Performance Dates and Times: April 12 | 7:30 p.m.
Location: de Jong Concert Hall, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU
Tickets: Available in person at the BYU HFAC or Marriott Center Ticket Office, by phone at (801) 422-2981 or online at byuarts.com