The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 2nd

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble sells out CPA show

<p>Courtesy of Jane Covner.</p>
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Courtesy of Jane Covner.

Friday evening, the orchestra will perform in a sold-out show under the conduction of Joshua Bell, one of today’s most highly regarded violinists.

Bell has visited Memorial Hall twice before — last season and in 2008 — performing solo. Now, he will conduct the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in a two-hour long performance.

But Bell will not assume the conventional conductor position in front of the orchestra, baton in hand. Instead, he will conduct from the concertmaster position, sitting down with the rest of the orchestra and conducting with his bow.

“It’s an interesting dynamic that is not something you see when you see the others like the Mariinski Orchestra where Valery Gergiev will conduct from a podium,” said Joe Florence, Carolina Performing Art’s marketing manager.

Florence said having such a renowned group of musicians perform at Memorial Hall illustrates the excellence and regard of the University’s venue.

UNC orchestra students will witness the orchestra’s unconventional method of conducting this evening before the performance when they attend the symphony’s open rehearsal. Unlike most orchestras, St. Martin in the Fields usually allows around five people to observe during its rehearsal time and sound check.

“St. Martin in the Fields is coming to the end of their tour, and they were eager to offer an opportunity, because the performance is sold out, for students to have some interaction with the musicians,” said Aaron Shackelford, Postdoctoral fellow of Arts@TheCore , an organization that works to integrate the arts with academic life at the University.

“This is a group of musicians who really understands the importance and the value of sharing the experience with students. That shows how thoughtful and dedicated they are to their craft and having an impact on the community.”

James Moeser, interim chancellor of UNC School of the Arts and former chancellor of UNC-CH, said the experience is important for music students because of the talent and experience that St. Martin in the Fields and Bell present.

“There’s no substitute for seeing and hearing live performances as opposed to recordings and videos. There’s something that takes place in a live performance,” he said.

“I know from my own history as a musician, I can still remember performances I heard as a young person that I will remember all of my life.”

When the concert sold out around the holidays, CPA asked the orchestra’s permission to make pit seating available — the seats placed in the front of the audience when part of the stage is lowered. After receiving permission to do so in early March, CPA opened 35 additional seats for sale. Those seats sold out by Monday.

“It is music performance at the very highest level,” Moeser said.


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