Last Sunday, Feb. 25, the Eastman Philharmonic joined in concert with Barry Snyder, a favorite of both Rochester and Eastman and an internationally awarded pianist, to perform at the majestic Eastman Theatre. The night marked the premiere of the piece “Shifting Trek,” a concerto composed by Eastman alumni Sydney Hodkinson.

Born in Manitoba, Canada, and studying under Louis Mennini and Bernard Rogers at Eastman School of Music, Hodkinson has received many awards for his classical and jazz/pop compositions. These works, which include choral pieces, string quartets and concertos, comprise what is considered to be a prolific amount of choral and vocal music as well as large orchestral canvases.

Hodkinson’s style is multi-layered and ranges through many genres, and as a result he thrives to achieve a music that reaches the brink of human sensitivity through different sounds and methods.

Considering the complexity of Hodkinson’s music, Barry Snyder and Eastman Theatre excellently portrayed these themes. In this concerto, Hodkinson stuck to the fast-slow-fast guideline for a common concerto but was still able to vary and go above this structure.

In the first and third movements, Barry Snyder played beautifully, following the unstable nature of the music, his sporadic moments of wrath juxtaposed in the flow of sound brought the music to new heights. Eastman Philharmonic followed Barry Snyder’s lead into an excellent musical sound.

Also featured was Edgard Varese’s Ameriques. A Paris born composer in the 1880s, Varese is contested to be one of the first composers to introduce an organized sound that produced something of a quality in electronic sound.

Varese has been an inspiration into many modern electronic bands like Frank Zappa, who even tried to meet with Varese over new possible ways to invent music.

In the piece Ameriques, sounds are juxtaposed in almost every aspect of the music. The resultant effect is almost overwhelming; siren noises flow in and out and even something of a lion’s roar occurs every once in a while.

The audience at Eastman ended this magnificent and rather clamorous piece with a plethora of sound growing louder and louder until its abrupt end. The crowd reacted with “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” to this glorious ending, leaving the listener breathless over this quick empowerment of sound.

Be sure to check out some of Eastman’s other exciting concerts. In the next few weeks, they will be offering exciting venues from Mozart piano competitions to chamber music to features with the Eastman Wind Orchestra.

The gorgeous theatre also provides the perfect environment for listening to an evening of classical music. See you there!

Miller is a member of the class of 2008.



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