Mari Funabashi ’13 Composes and Performs “Finis Origine Pendet”

Chronicling her journey through Andover in a self-composed, original organ concerto, Mari Funabashi ’13 performed “Finis Origine Pendet,” for the Andover community during the Academy Orchestras Concert on Sunday. The organ concerto piece featured Funabashi on the organ. She was accompanied by the Academy Symphony Orchestra. Funabashi composed both the organ melody and the orchestral accompaniment with the guidance of mentor Derek Jacoby, Instructor in Music, and other mentors from the music program at the Interlochen Arts Center that she attended over the summer. “The idea [for the concerto] came as a way of combining my two loves: composition and organ, with my desire to give back to Andover and the music department that has always supported me here,” said Funabashi in the written introduction of her concerto. The introduction outlined Funabashi’s decision to choose Finis Origine Pendet, one of Andover’s mottos, as the perfect title for the concerto. The Latin phrase translates as “the end depends on the beginning.” “This phrase perfectly sums up my Andover experience, because I think of my time here at Andover as the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Even from the beginning I knew that I wanted this piece to be about my journey here and dedicated to Andover,” said Funabashi. Funabashi’s love for the organ stems from her passion for classical music that she has held since childhood. “I used to play classical music in my room so much that my dad pretended I had my own radio broadcast of classic music called ‘Mari’s Station,’” said Funabashi. At the age of six or seven, Funabashi went to her first organ concert, which featured Dr. Kimberly Marshall, an internationally-acclaimed organist. The strong, resonant cadences of the organ captivated Funabashi almost instantly. “It was love at first sight. With all of its stops, the organ was like an entire orchestra in itself!” said Funabashi. However, Funabashi was unable to start playing the organ until she was 11 years-old due to her small stature. “Although I’ve only been playing [the organ] for the last six years, it seems like I’ve been playing it all my life,” said Funabashi. Funabashi was given an opportunity to introduce her solo while being accompanied exclusively by the Academy Symphony Orchestra after earning a spot in the annual Senior Soloist Concerto Competition, held by the Music Department early in the fall term. For the competition, Seniors prepared a concerto to audition in front of the judges, consisting of several of the Music department faculty, and the best performances were chosen to perform with the Academy or Chamber Orchestras. Sitting on the organ overlooking the audience in the Cochran Chapel, Funabashi’s organ solo began after a prelude by the Academy’s Chamber Orchestra, which consisted of slow, calming notes from the string instruments. The opening of her solo was marked with strong, dynamic tunes. In her introduction, Funabashi wrote that the first section of her concerto can be described with the words “enigmatic, wondrous and bittersweet,” all of which described her first steps onto campus. The piece then proceeded to capture “anguish and wishful” sentiments through a slower and more melancholic melody that differed from the first part, which was dominated with powerful tones. The progression of each concerto section, marked by emotional descriptions such as “enigmatic,” “bittersweet” and “anguished,” delineates the succession of Funabashi’s emotions during her time at Andover, an emotional progression that is familiar to most of the student population. The melancholic-sounding section of her concerto described the tougher times she went through at Andover. “It was a really great experience for all of us to be able to play this piece that a fellow student had envisioned and to actually be able to communicate her message to this audience,” said Maita Eyzaguirre ’14, a violist in the Academy Symphony Orchestra. “Andover’s large size and great diversity was very intimidating to me; I had difficulty settling into Andover,” said Funabashi, recalling the feeling that she felt when she first arrived at Andover as a freshman from Arizona in the fall of 2009. The piece then ended describing the feelings of confidence, courage and pride, embodied by very strong, euphoric notes and a loud crash of the cymbals. John Palfrey, Head of School, as well as many other faculty and parents burst into loud applause even before the echo of the last note subsided. “I was overwhelmed with emotion listening to the premiere of Mari’s organ concerto. It is a riveting and moving piece, covering a broad range of sentiments, just as she described in the program notes she shared with the audience. It is an extraordinary tribute to Mari’s skill as both a composer and performer, as well as to the ability and dedication of the entire orchestra whose members played the premiere with her,” said John Palfrey, Head of School, in an email to The Phillipian. Listing organists such as Dr. Kimberly Marshall, Paul Jacobs, Michael Murray, Ton Koopman and Abby Siegfried, Organist and Instructor in Music, as musical influences, Funabashi is most affected by Bach in terms of her musicality. Optimistic about both her future as an organ-player and composer, Funabashi shared a final remark for underclassmen with musical passions: “I don’t have any witty adages to whip out, but I would like to say this: do what you love and don’t be afraid to enjoy the process and be proud of the future.”