By Emily Sacco
On Thursday, March 7, the KU Orchestra held a free concert open to the public in Schaeffer Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Around 200 people attended the performance, which included works of composers Saint-Saens, Bruch, Griffes, Rachmaninoff and Bizet.
The show featured two soloists selected by a panel of professional judges during a concerto competition held throughout the music department. The students selected were Suzanne Francis, who played a flute solo, and Nicolas Gomez Amin, who performed a solo on the violin.
The students in the orchestra have been preparing for this hour-long concert for six weeks prior to the performance. According to Dr. Peter Isaacson, the conductor of the orchestra, the pieces were cut shorter due to a shortage of time to practice, which was caused by the abundance of snow days this semester.
As the lights dimmed, Isaacson gave a short introduction to the pieces the students would be performing, including music from the operas “Carmen” and “Samson and Delilah”. A short round-of-applause led into a ten-minute piece, which included all sections of the orchestra.
The second song highlighted Francis’s skills on the flute and featured members of the string section as Francis stood in the front performing her solo. After completing the ten-minute piece, Francis received immense applause from the audience.
Following Francis, Amin was the next musician to be in the spotlight with his twelve-minute violin solo. This solo captured the opera theme the show meant to convey with transitions from loud, aggressive sounds to soft, gentle music.
After a short intermission, the students concluded the show with a few more pieces that continued the operatic theme.
Each concert the orchestra performed had a different overall theme to the music being played. This specific concert featured songs that pulled opera music into an orchestral sound. It also focused on the soloistic aspect of performing.
“The theme wasn’t made by design,” said Isaacson. “If there had to be a theme it would be soloists and opera.”
The KU Orchestra is composed of 54 students who either are required by major to play in the orchestra or participate in it through a club. Twenty-seven of the students are in the strings section, and the rest play instruments in the woodwinds, brass and percussion sections. Each section gains and loses students each semester due to graduation or other conflicts, but usually remains fairly large.
“We have to figure out every semester what works because each semester has a different personality,” said Isaacson.
The next concert will be held on Sunday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Shaeffer Auditorium.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment