Thursday, March 21

UCLA Symphony performs Romantic period pieces in spring concert


Conductor Jorge Luis Uzcátegui, first-year doctor of musical arts student, leads the UCLA Symphony in rehearsal Sunday evening. The symphony will be performing pieces from the Romantic period in Schoenberg Hall this Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Conductor Jorge Luis Uzcátegui, first-year doctor of musical arts student, leads the UCLA Symphony in rehearsal Sunday evening. The symphony will be performing pieces from the Romantic period in Schoenberg Hall this Wednesday at 8 p.m. Scott Dee


Musicians from various majors ““ biology, art, English, history, global studies, neuroscience ““ come together as part of the UCLA Symphony to play classic Romantic pieces.

In its spring concert this Wednesday, May 26 at 8 p.m., the UCLA Symphony will perform a selection of four pieces from the Romantic period in Schoenberg Hall. The music comes from the works of British and Russian composers such as Elgar and Stravinsky.

“The trajectory of the program is warm, English late-Romantic music in the first half, and then colorful, Russian programmatic music in the second half,” said UCLA music professor and director of orchestral studies Neal Stulberg, who works with the UCLA Symphony.

The ambitious program will feature Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis,” the “Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85,” Liadov’s “The Enchanted Lake” and finally Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite (1919)” for the grand finale.

“I fell in love with (Romantic music) when I was little. … I feel at home with it,” said Henry Shin, doctor of musical arts student and one of the concert’s conductors.

Shin will conduct the first half of the program, filled with warm, enveloping sounds and juxtaposition between playful and mournful moods, Stulberg said.

“(The Elgar Concerto is) really a whole range of emotions from beginning to end,” said doctor of musical arts student Christopher Ahn.

Ahn, the solo cellist for the Elgar piece, feels a personal connection to Elgar’s piece, which has several movements of emotion that range from dark introspection to faster, playful tones, Ahn said.

“Every time you hear the “˜Firebird’ (on a digital recording) it is a wonderful experience. When you get to hear it in a live performance, it is twice as much the thrill,” said doctor of musical arts student Jorge Uzcátegui.

With much enthusiasm, the second half of the concert features high energy pieces filled with colorful orchestration and powerful melodies that are exciting to play and to hear, Stulberg said.

“Having the opportunity to conduct such an incredible piece like the “˜Firebird Suite’ by Stravinsky is really something out of this world,” Uzcátegui said.

According to Uzcátegui, the students of the UCLA Symphony feel the same passion for the music they play, especially since a majority of them are not music students.

“Everyone’s different ““ everyone has different experiences to bring (to the music). … We have to take experiences outside of what we learn in music classes,” Shin said.

Shin believes in finding connections between people’s personal experiences and the music they are playing as he uses images or stories to evoke a personal response from the musicians, Shin said.

“There’s something about bringing something personal to (playing) that’ll just automatically come out in the music,” Shin said.

In addition to playing out of personal motivation, UCLA Symphony offers a great opportunity for talented students who want to play in a high-quality orchestra, Stulberg said.

“I feel very confident going into this concert, that we are going to do this together and we understand each other very closely,” Shin said.

The orchestra has only 10 rehearsals to practice together as a group, but the members make the effort to do additional practice because the repertoire is so excellent, Uzcátegui said.

Their concert will be the result of extensive practice and dedication to classical music.

“If it comes out and it means something at all … if what (the orchestra is) communicating through the music is something that (the audience) can understand, then that’s great,” Shin said.

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