The Eastman School of Music’s Symphony Orchestra concert was an attunement of rich melodies last Friday night. The show was held in the Eastman Theatre and featured violinist Ko Taniguchi.

The ESSO is comprised of first and second year undergraduate students. One of its main focuses is to assist students in their preparation for the more sophisticated music they expect to be able to play as upperclassmen musicians at such a high-profile music school.

The ESSO presents four concerts per semester and joins forces with the Eastman-Rochester Chorus for one concert each year. It is necessary for all string players to audition for a spot in the in orchestras at Eastman. All other instrumentalists are placed in the orchestras by their studio teachers.

Director of Orchestral Activities Neil Varon serves as the primary conductor of all orchestras and manages the orchestral program at Eastman.

On Friday, the first piece of the performance was Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, op. 26 (Fingal’s Cave) followed by Copland’s Appalachian Spring: Ballet for Martha. These first two pieces featured the complete 84 piece symphony orchestra and continued to last for about 50 minutes combined.

It was easy to see from just one performance that this orchestra is more than just the music it plays, but it is a compelling visual performance as well. Accompanied by their euphonious syncopations come the perfectly synchronized motions that bring the music from the sheet to the airwaves that naturally reach the ears of the audience.

Each section of the orchestra has a signature sound that is specifically their own. Upon their first prominence within the piece, the brass instruments completely blew away the audience with a full on aural attack which grabbed immediate attention in the room.

The percussion section keeps the audience on their feet as they make their entrance. There is no question at this point that the piece is building up to one of its several peaks. The string and wind sections are firm staples of the orchestra. It is when the full orchestra dies down that all that is left is these two sections and the listener is really able to focus on and appreciate their beautiful presence.

After intermission, the orchestra reconfigured for Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 op. 14 (Allegro moderato, Larghetto and Allegro glocoso) featuring senior Ko Taniguchi. At the moment that Taniguchi’s bow struck the strings of his violin he stole the show and brought the music to life. The concerto lasted approximately 35 minutes and it was clear that the best was saved for last.

Ko Taniguchi is an internationally accomplished musician and member of Professor Oleh Krysa’s studio.

As a part of Krysa’s studio he has had the privilege of performing in the “Oleh Krysa and Students” recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He has been honored with the award for the Director’s Scholarship for Exceptional International Students.

His talents emerged at a young age. By four Taniguchi had begun violin lessons and subsequently studied privately with many of the masters in Japan. In both 1996 and 1997 he won first prize in the Japan Classical Music Competition. He then went on to receive his performance Diploma in Violin in 2002 from the Gnesin’s State Music College in Moscow.

While at school in Russia Taniguchi had concert appearances with Russia’s Yaroslavi Philharmonic Orchestra and Ukraine’s Krym Philharmonic Orchestra. He has participated in numerous music festivals such as Sarasota Music Festival and Hamamatsu-Eastman Summer Seminar. His latest concert appearances have included recitals in places like Japan at Canora Hall in Nagano and Musashino Cultural Hall of Tokyo.

Levy can be reached at

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