Conservatory Hosts First ‘Music For Strings’ Concert Of Fall Term

Students who performed at the "Music for Strings" concert./Samia Afsar

By Samia Afsar

 

   A theme of joy carried through in Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music’s first fall “Music for Strings” Concert on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Students presented solo and chamber works at the Tow Center’s Buchwald Theater, immersing audience members with strings and piano accompaniment.  

  “I’m happy for everybody,” Jesse Mills, the concert coordinator and the students’ professor, told the Vanguard post-show. “I thought everyone did a great job. You prepare the music for this moment, but you’re also preparing to know it well enough so that at the end of your life you may even be a better person for it.”

   Among the performers were Mary Beth Perez Castaño on the violoncello; Ajin Kim, Lila Bruschi, and Samuel Braiman on the violin; Jayda DeLeon Duran and Lexi Lester-Williams on the viola; Noel Cahill on guitar; John Africano on the double bass; and Eri Kang accompanied most performers on the piano. 

   As part of Mill’s Music for Strings class, the student performers had been preparing for the concert since the semester’s start. Working with their respective studio teachers, each student performed pieces they were encouraged to play, while also maintaining a sense of structure and balance throughout the event. 

   “We tried to make an order that made sense and tried to have a nice flow,” Mills said. “It’s always good to consider how the pieces correspond to each other.”

   The concert began with Castaño and Kang performing compositions by Austrian composer, Joseph Haydn. As the sounds of the violoncello and piano met gracefully, much of the audience sat up in their seats in anticipation, understanding that the night’s event was one to be remembered. 

   Although having to follow a notably strong start to the concert, Kim did not disappoint. Performing “Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 63, I. Allegro Moderato,” composed by Sergei Prokofiev, and accompanied by Kang on the piano, Kim’s performance was beautifully somber yet upbeat. Behind each stroke of her violin was a passion that was undeniably powerful and truly inspirational.   

   Despite each performance being exquisitely graceful in their own way, Cahill’s recital of “Partita No.1 in B minor, BWV1002, VII. Tempo di Bourrée” by German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, was rather noteworthy. Being the only performer who played the guitar, Cahill’s performance of Bach’s piece served as a much needed switch in sounds and momentum, while still maintaining the overall theme of joy and love of the concert. 

   Mills will be hosting a second strings concert titled “Music for Strings II” on Dec. 7, where additional performers will join the students from Wednesday’s event to present the work they have practiced throughout the fall semester.

   Additionally, the Conservatory is hosting four student degree recitals as part of bachelor of music requirements. The first of these recitals was performed by tenor, Dante Springer, accompanied by Violetta Zabbi on the piano, on Saturday, Oct. 15. 

   “These [recitals] are the accumulation of an entire three to four years of voice lessons,” said Springer’s professor, Tami Petty, in an interview with the Vanguard. “You start as a freshman and after six to seven, sometimes eight, semesters you [the student] put on a concert.” 

   Dressed in an all black suit, Springer stood center stage where his voice echoed throughout the room. Performing eleven rather small pieces ranging from the 15th-20th century, Springer’s recital radiated a sense of pure glee and exuberance. 

   Before his closing performance, Springer thanked his family, friends, and the members of the audience for all the love and support they gave him throughout the years. Although his final performance, “Walk Together Children” by Moses Hogan, was perhaps not his strongest, it was his contagious smile that illuminated the room that was most noticeable, closing the event on a joyous and proud note.    

   “I thought Dante did a great job,” said Petty. “He was supported here by his family and good friends, and that is what this is all about. When you’ve put so much work into something like this, it’s great to be able to celebrate it with people that love you.”

   The next student recital will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Don Buchwald Theater at 4 PM. This performance will highlight pieces by Chen Philips.

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