Simpson music professor takes stage with Des Moines Symphony


by Emily Carey, Staff Reporter

DES MOINES, Iowa — For the first time, a Simpson College professor will play a concerto with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.

Music professor Dave Camwell will be featured with his group, Oasis Quartet at the concert “Masterworks 4: Cathedral of Sound.” The group will perform Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso, a masterpiece for four saxophones and an orchestra.

​“We found out last spring. It was about a year ago,” Camwell said. “Most orchestras plan one to three years ahead in terms of their programming.”

​Oasis Quartet has been a professional group since 2008. All the members are from different states, so the group plans ahead when it comes to rehearsing their music.

​“Each year we usually get together for about a week in the summer and learn that concert season’s repertoire,” Camwell said. “And then we usually meet a day or two before the event and just sort of refresh ourselves and then perform.”

​The group has performed across the country.

Camwell said he is honored and excited about the opportunity to play in his home state.

​“Most of my performing now is done outside of Iowa. I travel all over to Canada and throughout most of the states, so it’s nice to finally play in front of my friends and family,” Camwell said. “Playing with the Des Moines Symphony is a real honor. It’s an excellent group. Any time you play a concerto, a featured solo like that, it’s really an exciting thing. It’s a relatively rare thing, and so it’s something I don’t take for granted. I thoroughly intend to enjoy every last bit of it.

“The piece itself is really accessible. It’s a great concert full of exciting, vibrant music.”

​Oasis Quartet has received wide acclaim from magazines, composers and audiences all over.

​“The Oasis Quartet’s performance is brilliant, strong and exciting… The playing is just simply lovely, with dead-on tuning, tasteful and elegant articulation and stunning virtuosity,” wrote Susan Fancher in Saxophone Journal.

​Camwell’s advice to music students who want to go into performance is to take advantage of the time they have and practice as much as possible.

​“The older you get, the more distractions life throws at you, whether it’s getting married, kids or another job. Now is the time, in your college years, to be selfish with your time,” Camwell said.

“You’ll never have a better time to really hone your craft as you will in this formative last-teen, early 20s years. Take advantage of this time and work hard, because it’s a very competitive field, but it’s also one that’s very rewarding and thrilling,” he added

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Des Moines Civic Center.

Tickets are available up until two hours before the performance and can be purchased online at the Des Moines Symphony website or at the Civic Center office.

Student rush tickets are available for $10 if purchased on the day of the concert through the Civic Center office. One ticket is issued per student ID.