Cochran Hosts Senior Concertos

In preparation for their departures from Andover in 22 days, six of Phillips Academy’s most talented seniors performed their Senior Concertos last weekend. This concert raised the bar for all musicians at Andover and was the final flourish of each of the musicians’ musical careers at Andover. Conducted by William Thomas and accompanied by the Academy Chamber Orchestra, the group amazed its audience and lit up the chapel with a brilliant performance. Jessie Pak ’04 (clarinet) was the first PA student to perform Friday night, and opened the night with his spectacular performance of Concerto in B flat for Clarinet and Orchestra by Johann Stamitz. Pak said, “It felt good to release all of the built up emotion from practicing.” Pak’s enthusiasm was visible even before he played as he danced and bounced to the sounds of his accompanying orchestra. His performance was spectacular and despite the incredible difficulty of soloing with a woodwind, Pak showed us the complexities of which he is capable. The next performer was Jami Makan ’04, who started off a series of the evening’s violin concertos. Makan is a multitalented individual, who drums for Steal Your Face as well as playing the violin. Dressed to impress, Makan took the stage to a booming applause and left to an even bigger one. The piece he performed, Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A Major, K219, was highlighted by some incredible scales toward the end of the solo and left quite an impression on the audience. Soon, the Chapel got a momentary break from classical music and took a turn toward the barnyard. “Millionaire’s Hoedown” played by Anne Myers ‘04 on the violin, conducted and arranged by Holly Barnes and composed by Herman Clabanoff, transported the crowd to the boonies. A crowd favorite, this piece stood out not only for its sound, but also for its guest conductor who is also Myers’s violin instructor. Myers played with composure replete of feeling and smiled throughout her performance. The next violinist, Jessica Hsiao ‘04, brought with her the woodwind and brass to double the power of the orchestra. The piece Hsiao performed had a very large range of dynamics and was very beautiful. The song in itself was an experience, and the immense skill of Hsiao only made it better. Alex Limpaecher ’04 (violin) then performed Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 21 composed by Édouard Lalo; a very moving, powerful, and advanced piece. Few people at this school could handle the complications contained in this piece, but Limpaecher mastered it beautifully as he played with enough force to knock over a building. Limpaecher was definitely one of the evening’s highlights, though the most amazing part of his performance was the fact he played completely from memory. His mastery of the violin was evident as he played one of the most intricate pieces of the night. Elizabeth Robie ’04 closed the show with Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. Her twelve years of violin training were made apparent as she made the elaborate concerto look simple. The solo was very long and changed moods often, which is one reason why Robie liked it: “It has so many different sounds to it … one part is soft and another loud and tense … it allows me to really express myself.” Amazing performances by these members of the Class of 2004 provided for a night of wonderful music. The music department is sad to let go of these students, but is excited to see where they go in the future with their careers.