The University Symphony Orchestra Concert, taking place tomorrow night at 8 p.m., will be somewhat of an initiation for celebrated conductor and new School of Music Dean Christopher Kendall. He is guest conducting a piece in his first University concert as dean.
“It’s special to have the new dean be a conductor as well – It’s a way to introduce him to the University as a conductor (and) as a new dean of the School of Music,” said David Aderente, School of Music managing director of all ensembles.
Kendall said preparing for this concert was a great way to connect with the students.
“It has been great working with these wonderfully talented students. It’s very important to make music with these students. Not just be the administrator of the school,” said Kendall. He expressed gratitude to Orchestra Director Kenneth Kiesler for allowing him to be involved so intimately in the program. Kiesler will be conducting the rest of the concert.
Kendall, who will be conducting the first piece, “Short Ride on a Fast Machine” by John Adams, said that he is excited for this experience. He added that not only will this be his first time conducting as a dean here, but also his first time performing at the distinguished Hill Auditorium.
Among other accomplishments, Kendall has been a guest conductor with the Symphony and Chamber Orchestra of the Julliard School, and he was a three-time recipient of a Washington Area Music Award.
Music freshman Alice Culin-Ellison said that Kendall’s vast experience added a new dimension to the orchestra in rehearsals.
“The first piece is very difficult rhythmically, and he helped us to play better,” Culin-Ellison said. She added that Kendall stood out to her as a conductor because “He’s very articulate. He knows what he wants to do at the start of rehearsal.”
Aderente said that this first piece is distinctive because of the utilization of unique instrumentals.
“(It) runs pretty smoothly. An unusual feature of the first piece is (that) it has two synthesizers, it was written back in the late 1980s – today (pieces) are a lot more sophisticated, we’re reproducing (the composer’s sounds) with what we have – not a lot of pieces have two synthesizers,” Aderente said.
Besides the choice in music, another highlight of the night is violin soloist and Music graduate student Katharina Uhde, who earned her spot on the program by winning the 2005 Violin Concerto Competition.
Music graduate student Alaina Bercilla points out another aspect of this concert: It has two modern pieces that were both written in the past century.
She explained that “the music is very energetic. The parts are very fast and difficult.”