Academy Orchestras Concert Amadeus Ensemble Performs Without Conductor

Despite the absence of Christina Landolt, Instructor in Music, their conductor, the string musicians of the Amadeus Orchestra kept their synchronization during an energetic rendition of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings, Op. 48.”

Landolt was absent because she gave birth on Friday to a healthy baby boy, Oliver. Knowing that she might be having her son around the time of the Academy Orchestras Concert, Landolt had prepared Amadeus to perform at the concert without her conducting.

Performances without the presence of a conductor very rarely occur. Amadeus managed to deliver a dynamic performance, nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t say that we played flawlessly, but it was not a bad performance at all. There was a lot of communication between the sections, like sharing looks across the stage. [Tony Choi ’15], the concert-master, led the orchestra really well,” said Katie Wilbur ’15, an Academy Symphony and Amadeus Orchestra violist.

The Corelli Ensemble, directed by Elizabeth Aureden, Instructor in Music, performed two songs as the afternoon’s opening act. Both their interpretations of the grand-sounding Romanian folk dancing song, “Jocul cu bata,” and “summa,” by Arvo Part, were soulful and lyrical.

Amadeus performed second, passing the stage to the Academy Chamber Orchestra after a brief intermission.

The Academy Chamber Orchestra played the first and fifth movement of “Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22,” composed by Antonin Dvorak and conducted by James Orent, Conductor of Academy Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. The student musicians delivered an impressive performance despite minor momentary struggles with the fast paced fifth movement.

The Academy Orchestra performance focused on performances by the student soloists cellist Sasha Scolnik-Brower ’13 and organist Mari Funabashi ’13.

Scolnik-Brower’s emotional interpretation of Franz Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major” received loud applause from the audience and other orchestra members. Displaying his highly technical skills and musical passion, Scolnik-Brower moved together with the music on every note.

“Sasha’s performance was absolutely amazing. He played the Haydn concerto with so much musicality–it was such a great performance. The notes he produced were clear and angelic-sounding,” wrote Catherine Choi ’13, a violinist in Academy Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, in an email to The Phillipian.

“I thought that Sasha’s cello concerto piece was masterfully played, with equally impressive orchestral support,” said Head of School John Palfrey in an email to The Phillipian.

The concert ended as members of Academy Symphony Orchestra, a combination of members from the three smaller orchestras, came up to the stage. “Prelude to Hansel and Gretel” by Engel Humperdinck gave James Garth ’13 and Jason Teng ’13, bassoonists, and Vincent Lau ’13 and Celine Kwon ’13, French horn players, the opportunity for excellent solos.

The Academy Symphony Orchestra also played Johann Strauss, Jr.’s “Eljen a Magyar, Polka Schnell, Op. 332,” which Orent decided on because he expected the playful tunes of the waltz piece to be a fun way to engage the audience, according to Choi.

A highlight of the Concert was the introduction of Funabashi’s self-composed organ concerto, “Finis Origine Pendet.” For many of the Academy Symphony Orchestra members, this was their first time accompanying an organ soloist.