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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


SB Symphony Orchestra finally plays after delayed winter concert

The Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra is made up of talented graduate music students from all over the world. (KRYSTEN MASSA / THE STATESMAN)

American conductor Jeffrey Milarsky directed the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra at the Staller Center Main Stage.

The concert, which was rescheduled from February this year was held on Saturday, Oct. 11.  As expected, the first performance of this semester by Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra attracted many people.

Michael Hershkowitz, the director of concerts and community education, gave his concert-related lecture at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Staller Center before the performance.

The lectures are for audience members to get to know more about the concert that they are going to see.

Director Hershkowitz’s one-hour lecture addressed several aspects of orchestration, and audience was highly engaged by the informative lecture.

Hershkowitz played recordings of selected parts of “The Miraculous Mandarin” by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók during the lecture. He encouraged the audience members to place themselves into the story scenes.

Music evokes emotion by conveying the information of a character’s story. During this event, Hershkowitz asked the audience an interesting question: “What are the differences between masculinity and femininity?”

The audience briefly answered his question by explaining the differences in an instruments sound—the tone color of the violin is soft and it more tends to symbolize the femininity in music.

Hershkowitz said that he would give lectures before each of the five Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra performances.

“If you can come to a concert and enjoy for a purely musical standpoint and live and visual components, just come to the lecture and get a little bit more background on the meaning and how music was played in history,” he said.

The concert started at 8 p.m. and lasted approximately two hours. The concert featured pieces by Richard Strauss, Paul Hindemith and Béla Bartók.

“Don Juan Op. 20” (1888) by Strauss and “Horn Concerto” (1949) were introduced to audience in the first part of the concert.

Amr Selim, the Egyptian hornist and winner of the internationally-recognized 2012 Northeast Horn Solo Competition mastered the French horn in the “Horn Concerto” (1949). There were three movements included in this piece—the first was moderately fast, the second was very fast and the third was very slow.

While the horn was the main sound, other instruments like harp, cellos and violins were also the important parts of this piece.

After the intermission, the event began when the orchestra played a set from “The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19, Sz.73” (1924) by the Hungarian composer Bartók.

Andrew Chen, a freshman who studies computer science, came to the concert to complete his assignment for Music 101.

“I think it was great, actually. It was my first symphony concert and it was really intense,” he said.

Brett Walfish, the performer who played the viola in this concert, is a second year doctorate student of musical arts.

He proudly said the concert went well and was fun. He started practicing for the show a week ago.

“I don’t feel nervous for shows because I am on the stage with a lot of people.” Johnathan Spence, the violin player who came out with Walfish after the concert, said.

Spence is in his first year of his doctorate of musical arts.

He said that he was also only practicing for like a week and his favorite piece to play was Bartók’s piece of music.

“Just as a whole it’s more of a full coarse meal rather than an appetizer,” Spence said.

The Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra gathers a great number of outstanding musicians from different parts of the world.

There are four more concerts coming up. Two are taking place this year, on Nov. 8 and Dec. 6 and there are two more performances on Feb. 21 and March 28 of next year.

Correction: October 13, 2014

A previous version of this article mistakenly credited Strauss’ “Don Juan Op. 20” as two separate pieces. 

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