On Monday, October 26, TU’s school of music had the opening symphony orchestra production of the season.
Every year, the school of music has a calendar full of events, from September to April.
“Unless specified otherwise, all performances [on the School of Music calendar] are held in the Lorton Performance Center and are free and open to the public.”
Having always considered myself a music lover, I cannot miss any chance to go to concerts. The first big concert of the year, which took place in Gussman Hall, was undoubtedly a huge success.
The concert started at 7:30 pm and was comprised of three pieces: an Overture by Mendelssohn, a work for Strings and Harp by Elgar, and a full symphony by Tchaikovsky: “Little Russian.”
TU Orchestra was wholly presented, along with two conductors. One of the conductors was Professor Richard Wagner, the second one TU junior Drew Crane. The presence of a student conductor brought a new air to the orchestra.
After the concert, I had a chance to talk with our two wonderful conductors. When asked why these pieces, Professor Wagner proudly said: “I chose them! I chose these because they are pieces that can show off the competency of the orchestra.”
According to Professor Wagner, it took eight weeks to practice and prepare for the stage. He said in order to know whether the night was a success, look at the audience.
Based on what I saw that night, it must have been! Everyone stayed, lingered, cheered and chatted. Since the audience was happy, the performance must have been a success.
What made this year’s opening a special one was the presence of a student conductor. Professor Wagner claimed that this only happens whenever we have a student who is qualified enough for the job.
Crane is a junior studying Piano Performance and has taken several conducting classes. However, TU does not offer a conducting major.
Crane shared that this was not his first time conducting an orchestra or TU ensembles, but it was his first official time with TU symphony orchestra.
Crane said, “It feels like home, and at the same time so amazing up there.”
Crane also shared that the orchestra practiced hard for this, and due to time conflicts, he had to practice with each group separately. At first, the musicians had problems following his baton, but step by step, they got used to it, and it finally bloomed into a magnificent performance last Monday.
Of the three pieces, Crane conducted the middle one, Sospiri, which means “Sighs” in Italian. It’s a beautiful work about the death of the composer’s close family friend, who is a violinist.
“This is not a simply sad piece,” Crane said.
Sospiri was originally a companion to Elgar’s popular “Salute d’Amour,” which explains the romantic air found in a piece about war and loss
Crane said the piece, “describes love at a more mature stage, like an older couple still in love. It doesn’t contain the fiery passion as young love does (like Salut D’Amore), but rather it has a more mellow energy, like a sigh of content.”
The concert was indeed a wonderful opening to what will hopefully be a good season for the TU symphony orchestra, featuring all the best and most brilliant of our musicians. Due to their earnest devotion to bring joy and pleasure to the audiences, I am looking forward to future performances.