Symphony Orchestra prep season
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 00:09
This year promises to be both challenging and exciting for the UConn’s Symphony Orchestra. One of the prime drivers behind this excitement is Professor Harvey Felder. He joined the faculty of the UConn this year as the new permanent director of the symphony orchestra after a long two-year search by the Department of Music. Professor Felder was described by Symphony Magazine as “one of America’s promising conductors.”
Graduate Assistant Director of the orchestra, Scott Mcshee, who is currently a second year Master of Music student at the university, discussed the auditions for the orchestra, which were held last week.
As a part of their audition, students were asked to prepare two pieces.
“Usually we ask for two contrasting pieces in the audition, one of which should be fast and technically challenging,” Mcshee said. This year there was a large influx of new members into the orchestra with the addition of twelve new members to the string section alone as a result of the auditions.
All members of the university community who play an orchestral instrument are encouraged to audition for the orchestra, Mcshee said. “We encourage everyone to audition.” Those thinking about auditioning will be glad to know that unlike regional orchestra auditions and all state auditions, there is no sight-reading portion to the audition for the symphony orchestra.
McShee also discussed the upcoming concert season for the orchestra. Orchestra concerts are free for students as long as they show their university-issued ID at the door, and the performances are usually held at the Von der Mehden Recital Hall. The dates for the two concerts for the fall semester this year are Thursday, October 11, and Thursday, December 6.
In preparation for these concerts, members of the orchestra rehearse for five hours a week for two and a half hours each night on Mondays and Wednesdays evenings. The repertoire for these concerts will consist of pieces from various periods of musical history. One of the opportunities available to instrumentalists through the university’s Department of Music is the concerto competition, where students preform a concerto of their choice for a jury made up of music department faculty. The winner is given a chance to preform this piece with either the orchestra or wind ensemble depending on what the piece they select calls for. This competition is normally held during the spring semester.