DSO features two senior soloists in Sunday's performance

by Kristina Mani | 10/3/12 10:00pm

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The Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert on Sunday as part of the Year of the Arts initiative at the College, showcasing senior soloists.
by Courtesy of Andy Mai / The Dartmouth

The DSO usually performs one concert each term, but an extra concert will be held this term in honor of the Hopkins Center's 50th Anniversary, according to Fu. In addition, as a thank you to the Hopkins Center's patrons, admission will be free.

The additional concert also accounts for the unprecedented number of committed and accomplished soloists in the Class of 2013 in the orchestra, according to Fu. The orchestra has grown in size this term, he said, and the seniors returning to campus were gladly welcomed back to the group.

In addition, more than 20 new members, the majority of whom are members of the Class of 2016, have joined the orchestra this term, according to orchestra manager and violinist Damaris Altomerianos '13. As a result, not nearly as many outside musicians needed to be hired for this performance, and the audience can expect to see a fully student orchestra, according to Altomerianos.

This year's orchestra will showcase an unprecedented five senior student soloists and one guest conductor over the course of the next year, and two will be featured in Sunday's concert. For the first time, the concert consists of two concertos, a musical form that features a soloist in front of the orchestra, according to Altomerianos.

Yen will be featured first in Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major, a "refined" piece composed in the classical era, Altomerianos said. Furthermore, Yen said he feels a personal connection to the piece, as it was one of the very first concertos he ever heard. Yen said he immediately knew he wanted to play it with an orchestra one day.

The second piece will feature Fu playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major. This innovative and revolutionary concerto is a direct dialogue between the orchestra and piano. The subtle traces of harmony and texture contribute to the transcendent mood of the piece, according to the Hopkins Center's program notes.

"If music will sound profound in any way, this is one of those pieces," Fu said. "This piece says a lot even though there are no words. There's a certain quality of timelessness to it."

Altomerianos said that Beethoven concerto evokes a strong emotional response for her as a player.

"When I heard the opening chords of the Beethoven concerto played, I literally found myself starting to tear up because it was so beautiful," she said.

The orchestra members, under the leadership of Princiotti, have invested a great deal of time and effort into this performance. Student guest conductor Paul Finkelstein '13 said that Princiotti is both a brilliant musician and master of communication, and it is evident to the entire orchestra that he intensely studies the music before he steps onto the podium.

Princiotti's knowledge of and passion for music enable him to inspire the players and connect with them on a musical level, according to Finkelstein. He works to make playing with the ensemble a positive learning experience for the musicians.

"He really invests himself in teasing out musical and historical details," Yen said. "Mr. Princiotti is very interested in the pedagogical value of playing in the orchestra. It's not just about playing the notes, but really understanding the music."

This year's concerts, more so than any other year, showcase the talent of the musicians on campus. The repertoire of Sunday's performance is the cornerstone concertos for their respective instruments, Finkelstein said. Among members of the orchestra, there is great respect for the soloists, and Finkelstein praised their musical skills as being at the conservatory level.

"Richard is so passionate when he sits down at the piano to play," he said. "It's evident in his movement in the piano, in the sounds that he can procure from the piano. He has a certain rapport with the orchestra that has helped progress the piece."

Finkelstein also spoke highly of Yen, the other soloist.

"Avery is a cellist of the highest caliber," he said. "The Haydn, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult concertos written for the cello. The piece moves very quickly, and it just flies."

Altomerianos said she believes that the audience will be very receptive to the soloists. She looks forward to the electrifying energy of performing to a full house, and even people who are not necessarily inclined to classical music can expect to enjoy the performance and appreciate the musical talent of the DSO, she said.

This concert will give everyone the opportunity to see two of the most talented student musicians on campus and a brilliant orchestra behind them, according to Altomerianos.

"There is such a dedication, passion and excellence among the musicians of the DSO, and the Year of the Arts gives us an opportunity to highlight that," she said.

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