Howard Fox: Opening Night Overture

Dr. Howard FoxWhile Dr. Fox is a practicing podiatrist, his first and lasting love was music. His father played violin and viola and provided a rich musical environment for him as a child. He studied composition under Earl George at Syracuse University, and although changing his course of study to medicine “for pragmatic reasons,” he continued to compose in his favorite venue, large orchestral works. His music is uncharacteristic of most modern classical music in that its melodic and the harmonic structures are rather basic and established.

It wasn’t until writing for over 50 years that his first orchestral piece received a performance, a tone poem called Scenes in the Greenbelt depicting 5 areas of the Staten Island Greenbelt. The Staten Island Philharmonic performed this in November 2015 under the baton of Maestro Guzman. It was a natural expression of Dr. Fox’s love of the Greenbelt and his involvement with the Greenbelt Conservatory on Staten Island. A documentary film called Woodland Verse: A Glimpse into the Staten Island Greenbelt which made exclusive use of his music.

Dr. Fox was recently honored as 2016 Outstanding Composer by the Staten Island Philharmonic and his brass quintet premiered at their annual gala. He was asked to compose a march for the Staten Island Philharmonic Concert Band which premiered over a series of three outdoor concerts during the July 4th weekend. Dr. Fox lives and practices on Staten Island, is married to Angela, and has two children, Jonathan and Daniel.

Program Notes by the Composer:

When asked to provide an opening piece for this concert, my initial thought was to use something I had already written, but after attending two concerts of the Centre Symphony Orchestra and hearing their capabilities, I decided to write something new and just for them in the form of an overture. With so many talented musicians, I wanted to write something where almost everyone gets a chance to shine at some point, giving opportunities to many soloists. And since this overture would herald the new season for the CSO, I wanted it to say, “something big is coming,” and thus, named it Opening Night Overture. I have dedicated this piece to Maestro Guzman, a man of abundant musical knowledge and the ability to inspire musicians to bring out their best. His invaluable advice and recommendations have taught me more about orchestration than I learned in 4 years at college. For his wealth of knowledge, his willingness to part with it, and for the friendship I have found in him, this music is for Alex.