The Academy Orchestras Concert

The excitement of the pep rally continued on into the Chapel on Friday night, during the Academy Symphony and Chamber Orchestras Concert, which included a senior concerto featuring oboist Steve Kim ’11. Kim’s concerto was truly the highlight of the night. He performed “Concerto for Oboe on Themes from Donizetti’s La Favorita” by Antonio Pasculli, an virtuosically challenging piece on the oboe. As the orchestra began, Kim stood anxiously at the front of the stage, waiting for his cue. Suddenly, loud creaks sounded from the corner of the Chapel. The radiator was giving a concert of its own. James Orent, conductor of the Academy Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, put down his baton, silencing the orchestra, and turned to the audience. With a smile he said, “At least Steve has been perfect so far.” This comment eased the nerves of the musicians and brought out laughter and smiles. Following the radiator’s concert, the orchestra restarted the piece, filling the space with a couple bars of mysterious motifs. Kim exhaled a long, sole note, which marked the beginning of his solo. Throughout the piece Kim showcased his hard work and skills with bursts of quick-paced chromatic scales, trills and challenging jumps from octave to octave. Audience members’ jaws dropped at the speed of Kim’s fingers as he covered a wide range of notes. Jasmine Edison ’11 said, “I was trying to watch [Kim’s] fingers move and I just couldn’t because they were blurry from moving so fast. I can’t imagine how much work that must have been.” In addition, Kim successfully expressed the many emotions in the piece, portraying moods from cheerful to solemn to hopeful all in one breath. Peter Cirelli, Instructor in Music and Chair of the Music Department, said that Kim’s performance was “full of energy. So beautiful. [He is] such a virtuosic player and he really worked hard to get the job done.” Orent said, “He had a very limited time to prepare. [The piece is] incredibly difficult, and he made it sound like it was easy. It’s not.” “He’s like a professional oboist. He did an absolutely wonderful job, absolutely phenomenal. He has a great future if he keeps it up.” Though Kim’s solo started off with a distraction from the radiator, the performance fared smoothly, ending with thunderous claps and a standing ovation. Friends from both onstage and off gave him flowers, balloons and even a life size toy penguin recognizing his achievement. But the show did not only include the concerto. The night opened with the Corelli Ensemble playing “Quartet in C Major, K. 157” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, followed by a simpler, more contemporary piece, “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. The Corelli Ensemble eased the audience into a musical mood with their solid performance. Next, the Amadeus Ensemble filled the Chapel with “Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20” by Edward Elgar. The ensemble successfully portrayed the wide range of dynamics in the piece, beginning softly before they filled the room with a resonant, full sound of harmonizing strings. “We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare since the last concert, but we tried really hard, and I think it worked out well,” said Christina Landolt, Instructor in Music and conductor of the Amadeus Ensemble. After an energized intermission, the Academy Chamber Orchestra filed on stage and performed “Symphony No. 6 in C Major” by Franz Schubert. The silent Chapel exploded with the grand reverberation of the orchestra’s first note. The piece executed dramatic dynamics with echoes of the main theme in high and low pitches, greatly distinct from the previous gentle serenade. After the applause of the Schubert, the rest of the members of the Academy Symphony Orchestra joined the stage to perform the “Emperor Waltz, Op. 437” by Johann Strauss, Jr. They followed it up by concluded the concert with the famous “Orpheus in the Underworld Overture” by Jacques Offenbach. As the orchestra reached the legendary can-can tune, audience members of all ages started to bob and dance in their seats, unable to restrain themselves from joining this distinguished melody. “In the middle we just started dancing and the people behind us started laughing and joining in,” said Emily Timm ’11. Ending in such high spirits from all the remarkable performances, the concert was a definite success.