100 of Chapel Hill's premier musicians are primed to take the stage this Thursday in one of the most eclectic programs on campus.
This year, The UNC Symphony Orchestra kicks off the season with the premiere of Allen Anderson’s "Speak, Then," Prokofiev’s Suite from "Lieutenant Kijé" and Beethoven’s "Symphony No. 2 in D Major" as part of the music department’s student scholarship benefit series.
“It’s a very diverse setting for people who are interested in playing serious music in a serious ensemble,” said UNC professor, Music director and orchestra conductor, Tonu Kalam.
Kalam said what sets this program apart from their previous performances is professor Allen Anderson, premiering his first orchestral piece, 'Speak, Then'.
Anderson said Kalam has been asking him to write a piece since he first started teaching at the university 18 years ago.
“The title actually came very quickly," he said. "When I just said ‘alright I’m going to do this. Let me see if as a composer, I do have music in me for this orchestra and get it out and say it.’”
Kalam said the result was a conflicting piece of musical dialogue that was particularly unique.
“It’s very difficult, very challenging for the orchestra but it’s always exciting to do something new and exciting to work with living composers” he said.
Anderson has only been absent from two rehearsals since the orchestra started practicing, providing key insight into how the piece should develop.
“There was a moment a couple rehearsals ago where I finally said ‘oh they're listening to one another across the orchestra’ because there’s stuff being sent back and forth,” Anderson said. “The real symphonic sense of it was unfolding so its been very rewarding."
Robert Garbarz, senior performance music major in his fourth year with the orchestra, said he will be playing principle second violin in the ensemble.
“It’s very different, very complex textures that are hard to cipher with your ears the first few times,” he said. “Every rehearsal you hear something different coming from a different part of the orchestra that you didn’t notice the time before.”
Anderson and Kalam said they have been impressed with the orchestra’s adoption of the different pieces and are excited to see them performed.
“We have one chance to get it right, we only do one performance of this program and maybe because of that the orchestra really tends to rise to the occasion. That’s the exciting part, seeing the transformation in performance,” said Kalam.
Garbarz also expressed his excitement about performing Beethoven’s No. 2 Symphony.
“The second symphony is one of the forgotten ones," he said. "It’s been a really great experience getting to learn, and it lives up to the rest of his work."
The three piece performance is a mix of genres, and something Kalam looks to incorporate for students and audience members alike.
“All three pieces we're doing are very different from each other in character, style, sound and intent, which is what I like to do when I program a concert,” he said.
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