"L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale)," written by renowned Russian composer Igor Stravisky (left) and Swiss writer C. F. Ramuz, was the perfect piece for Park to conduct.
Scored for a septet consisting of violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and percussion, the piece is complex and intricate with fiendishly difficult rhythms — challenging for the conductor as well as the players.
The piece is theatrical, with actors and musicians working together to tell the story of a soldier who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for immeasurable wealth.
Remarkably, "L'Histoire" was composed during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and written to accommodate a small group of musicians and actors.
Furthermore, Stravinsky traveled to Columbus in 1966 to conduct a concert of his works with the Columbus Symphony, involving a collaboration with the Columbus Symphony Chorus and the Ohio State Symphonic Choir.
During his visit, he also came to Ohio State's campus to attend a student performance of "L'Histoire."
There are so many parallels that make this just the perfect piece to do," Burns said.