SU Orchestra to finish year with annual spring performance

By Michelle Seitz, Staff writer

Susquehanna’s orchestra  will perform its spring concert on May 2 in Stretansky Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.

According to the program, the orchestra is conducted by associate professor of music Gregory Grabowski.

Grabowski recently started teaching at Susquehanna after serving as the interim director of the Flower Mound Symphony Orchestra in Texas.

In addition to directing the orchestra at Susquehanna, Grabowski currently teaches conducting and is a mentor for student teachers.

According to first-year violinist Elizabeth Hebert, the orchestra tends to rehearse for about two hours, but a lot of practice and hard work goes into the pieces outside of group rehearsals.

First-year violinist Isaiah Harper said, “Prepping for the concert is hard because we have to learn the material out- side of rehearsal, but rewarding when you get a part down.”

The first piece the orchestra will perform is “Finlandia” by Finnish composer and violinist Jean Sibelius.

On average, “Finlandia” typically takes around 7 to nine minutes to perform.

Composed in 1899 and first performed in 1900, “Finland- ia” was written in protest of the Russian Empire increas- ing its censorship. The work was the final of seven pieces that accompanied a tableau on Finnish history.

As a precaution, the piece was often performed under different titles, some of which included “Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring” and “A Scandinavian Choral March.”

On “Finlandia,” Harper said, “It’s a powerful piece that has a lot of emotion.”

After “Finlandia,” the orchestra is set to perform four movements from the “Ballet Suite, Sylvia” by French com- poser Leo Delibes.

Delibes composed during the Romantic era and spe- cialized in ballet and opera. Delibes also influenced later composers, such as Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

“Ballet Suite, Sylvia” is renowned for its mythological Arcadian setting, choreography and its score.

The first movement is the “Prelude – Les Chasseresses,” followed by “Intermezzo el Valse lente,” “Pizzicati” and “Cortege de Bacchus.”

Following a brief intermission, the orchestra is also set to perform two movements by German composer Kurt Weill: “Beat! Beat! Drums!” and “Oh Captain! My Captain!”

The pieces are two of four poems by Walt Whitman Weill had set to music.

The others are “Come up from the Fields, Father” and “Dirge for Two Veterans.”

Originally, the songs arranged for voice and piano before later being rearranged for voice and orchestra.

While “Oh Captain! My Captain!,” “Dirge for Two  Veterans” and “Beat! Beat! Drums!” were composed from
the winter of 1941 to the spring of 1942, “Come Up From the Fields, Father” was not composed until 1947.

The final piece the orchestra will perform is “Russian Easter Festival Overture” by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

“Russian Easter Festival Overture” was written by Rim- sky-Korsakov between August 1887 and April 1888.

It is also the last of what is recognized as his three most acclaimed works, the other two being “Capriccio Espag- nol” and “Scheherazade.”

The piece was dedicated to Modest Mussorgsky and Alexander Borodin, two fellow members of “The Mighty Handful,” a group of Russian composers who collaborated together musically.

“Russian Easter Festival Overture” heavily focuses on biblical quotes and the Russian Orthodox liturgy.

Regarding the piece, first-year violinist Paige Drews said “Russian Easter Overture” is “very dramatic” and noted the “unexpectedness of the first crescendo.”

Similar to Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” “Russian Easter Festival Overture” is also a fast-paced movement.

“[The piece is] enjoyable because it gets your adrenaline running,” Harper said.

Senior Toni Hogan will serve as the concertmaster for the performance.

The orchestra features about 50 members on violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, and percussion.

Principal musicians for the orchestra’s performance are adjunct faulty music Megan Carraher, seniors Mike Ka- minski, John Leonard, Ben Magrowski, Laura Spence and Rachel Snyder, juniors Alex Blankinship, Lydia Getgen, Emily Gimlin, Brett Heffelfinger, Dylan Little and Krista White, sophomores Rosemary Butterly, Cathrina Kothman, Emma Mooradian, Ben Nylander and Brennan Rudy and first-years Hallie Devlin and Krystina Rodkey.

In addition to the orchestra, multiple other musical groups on campus will perform their end-of-the-year concerts.

Chorale, conducted by assistant professor of music Jason Vodicka, will perform on April 28 at at 7:30 p.m.

Choir, conducted by assosciate professor of music Julia Thorn, will perform on April 29 at 7:30 p.m.

The Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, conducted by associate professor of music Eric Hinton, will perform on April 30 at 2:30 p.m.

The Jazz Ensemble, direct- ed by associate professor of music Joshua Davis, will perform on May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

All of the listed performances will take place in Stretansky Concert Hall in Cunningham Center for Music and Art.

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