The WMU University Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Prof. Bruce Uchimura, has its first concert Sunday at 3:00 in Miller Auditorium. It is not just the USO’s first concert but the school of music’s first major event of the year. Our Showcase Concert is superb sampling of everything music performance in the Dalton Center and includes soloists, chamber groups, and large ensembles of every discipline. The orchestra will perform the overture from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.
On a personal note, this piece has a little history for me. In 2009, when I was a senior in high school, I managed to not bomb my sight-reading at Solo and Ensemble contest. This earned me a spot in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Orchestra which, coincidently, was held at Western Michigan University. That year, we had two conductors, Damon Gupton who conducted Franz Liszt’s Les Preludes and Jed Fritzemeier who conducted Overture from Candide. Fritzemeier explained to us that many orchestras play the piece’s second theme with beauty and grace. He also made clear that maybe this should not be the case. This theme, which is taken from the song “Oh, Happy We”, is full of comical conflict and Candide and Cunegonde try to resolve their… differences.
Thus, there is something sneering and satirical about this beautiful melody. It wasn’t until I was playing in the pit for Indiana University’s production of Candide that I understood the context (the bombastic opening theme is the "Battle Music" and finale is from "Glitter and Be Gay", which shows Cunegonde's unfortunate situation later in the show). And now I come full circle to play it once again on the stage of Miller auditorium.
If you are interested in seeing a throwback, here is the 2009 performance on file for the world to see: http://www.banddirector.com/videodirect/myaf-2009/2009-myaf-msboa-orchestra-preludes/
Along with the orchestra, Prof. Uchimura has put together a cello quartet featuring one of our seniors, Allyson Perez Monsanto, and two of our new graduate students Jordan Hamilton and Adriana Fernández Vizcaíno. We will perform Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion and the Libertango.
I hope that you can join us for a great concert!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably noticed the website has gotten a facelift. I hope that everyone finds the new look to be aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic.
I am excited to announce that my Master of Music degree recital has been scheduled for Saturday November 22nd at 1:00 in the WMU Dalton Recital Hall.* All fingers crossed, the jury will be passed and the date will be kept.
(Note that the time has changed but the date has not. The recital is no longer at 4:00 but at 1:00 instead)
The program will be the Six Preludes of the Bach Suites for Solo Cello and Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard in China. Solo Bach is an essential part of the cello repertoire so it belongs on the degree recital. However, I’ve seen many people play entire suites as I did for my undergraduate degree. After experiencing Emilio Colon play all six suites in a single concert, I began envisioning something on a smaller scale that would still convey the scope and breadth of what the cello suites have to say.
The Sheng pieces were given to me by Crispin Campbell when I was still in high school and I have finally gotten around to learning them. They are, like the Bach Suites, regionalized dances and songs of a diverse continent that imitate a large range of instruments, voices, and ensembles. The Tunes were first recorded by Yo-Yo Ma on his album Solo in a truly magnificent fashion. I hope to also do them justice.
In addition to this, I’ll be bringing the recital program on tour Up North with three different dates in three different cities: Manistee, Traverse City, and Petoskey. A big thank you to Sarah Helge, Katherine Will, and Joe Fortin for helping organize and providing venues for these concerts.
Time to practice!