On Sunday afternoon, the Life Sciences Orchestra, sponsored by Gifts of Art at Michigan Medicine, held their free winter concert in front of a large audience of students and members of the public at Hill Auditorium.
Tal Benatar, the Gilbert S. Omenn Music Director of the Life Sciences Orchestra and operating Assistant Music Director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra, gave a lecture prior to the concert.
In his remarks, Benatar focused on Jean Sibelius, one of the three composers showcased in the concert. On several occasions, Benatar quoted Sibelius, stating, “I admire the symphony’s severity of style in the profound logic that creates an interconnection between all motifs … it is like the world with no people.”
Just before it was performed, Benatar remarked on the emotions evoked by the symphony.
“The symphony ends in a very tragic way but is also extremely powerful,” Benatar said. “Let the music make you feel ways you might not think of feeling.”
At the start of the concert, Dr. Gilbert S. Omenn, former U-M Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, remarked on the history of the Life Sciences Orchestra. Omenn has been a part of the organization since its inception, 20 years ago.
“I’m very pleased you could join us in the anniversary season for a celebration of science, music and medicine,” he said. “We are not only celebrating the 20th anniversary of LSO, but also the 150th anniversary of Michigan Medicine.”
Each of the performers come from a branch of study within the Life Sciences field, and range from undergraduate students studying neuroscience, to retired physicians from the Department of Pediatrics and professors at the University of Michigan Medical School.
When asked about his feelings about the concert, medical student Curtis Kuo, who is also the first cello, expressed excitement and confidence about the performance.
“I am feeling good about it,” Kuo said. “Tal was talking about this energy that we all get when we’re in front of an audience … there’s a lot more (people) than I was expecting but it’s great to see everyone.”
According to Kuo, the orchestra has been practicing for two and a half hours a week since September. Kuo plans on staying with the orchestra for the rest of his time at the University.
“It’s really exciting and it’s something I think I want to continue,” Kuo said.