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Saturday April 1st

Musicians to play ‘Carmina’

The Carolina Choir will be joined by other campus groups to perform “Carmina Burana” tonight. DTH/BJ Dworak
Buy Photos The Carolina Choir will be joined by other campus groups to perform “Carmina Burana” tonight. DTH/BJ Dworak

More than 300 UNC musicians will grace Memorial Hall tonight with the familiar strains of “Carmina Burana” and the entirely new piece “Dysfunctional.”

This performance is the world premiere of UNC professor Stephen Anderson’s piano concerto “Dysfunctional.”

“Carmina” by Carl Orff, first performed in 1937, is one of the most recognizable 20th century pieces. Portions of it appear in sports drink commercials, beer commercials and movies, including “Jackass: The Movie” and “Excalibur.”


Time: 7:30 p.m. today
Location: Memorial Hall

“It’s fun music and very accessible to everybody,” said sophomore Emily Bruestle, who plays violin in the UNC Symphony Orchestra.

“Carmina” is based on medieval poems. Orff, who fought for the German army in World War I, has been associated with the Nazis, causing controversy, said Dan Huff, conductor of the Men’s Glee Club.

The performance employs UNC’s Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, Carolina Choir, UNC Symphony Orchestra, UNC Chamber Singers, three professional soloists and two pianos in the orchestra. All of the groups will be onstage at once.

“We wanted to do a big blockbuster hit that would bring a lot of performers together and appeal to the audience,” said the concert’s conductor, Tonu Kalam.

The last time these musical groups collaborated was five years ago for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The singers have to be physically elevated to be heard above the booming instruments. Because the choirs usually perform by themselves, UNC had to borrow risers from a public school to fit all the singers on stage, Huff said.

Unlike in smaller pieces in which color change and uniformity are emphasized, the singers act like an extra string section, Huff said.

“It’s a different kind of musicianship,” he said.

The well-known piece will be a nice contrast to the never-before-heard “Dysfunctional,” Kalam said.

“It’s an orchestral piece with strong jazz influence,” Anderson said of his work.

Anderson received an award from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition to commission a piano concerto for Steven Harlos, a friend and pianist for the renowned Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

It took Anderson four and a half months to compose the 20-minute piece.

It mixes contemporary “scary” harmonies with tonal, pretty sounds listeners would enjoy, Anderson said.

“Composers like to hear modern, but the audience doesn’t, so it tries to balance that,” he said.

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