UR Symphony Orchestra

Courtesy of newspressnow.com

The UR symphony orchestra held a concert on Saturday, March 2 in Strong Auditorium.  Freshman  violinist Kiara Osolinsky, one of the performing musicians, offered her thoughts on the concert, the orchestra, and her pursuit of a music career as a college student.

Why did you decide to join the Symphony Orchestra?

When I was looking at colleges to study electrical engineering, the biggest part of my decision was that they had to have some kind of music department or music classes that I could enroll in. Orchestra was part of that.

Have you ever thought of majoring in music? Why didn’t you?

I looked into a double major in music, or a minor in music, but because the coursework doesn’t overlap with my electrical engineering major at all, it would basically mean me staying on a fifth or sixth year. But I’m doing a cluster in music, which is fun.

Do you have a favorite composer?  If so, who is it?

I like Mozart, but that seems really cliché.  I like Bach too, but that’s also cliché. (Laughs)

What do you like most and least about playing with the orchestra?

My favorite part is the cookies we get during break.  No, seriously. Each week for rehearsal, a different section of the orchestra is asked to bring cookies, and they are delicious and wonderful. And the worst part…well I don’t know if it’s necessarily bad, but it clears out an evening where I don’t worry about schoolwork because I can’t physically do any.  Rehearsal is from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, so that’s my unwinding time.

If you could play with any orchestra in the world, where would you play? Why?

Let’s see, there’s the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, and I think there’s a San Francisco Philharmonic?  Also the London Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra — that’d be pretty cool.  They recently did “The Hobbit” soundtrack.  So basically any major orchestra that does movie soundtracks because that would be really, really cool.  I love John Williams. And Howard Shore. They’re fantastic.

What was the highlight of your concert last weekend? 

I think the highlight was that we had a piano soloist with us, so we accompanied her.  That was really fantastic. The reason we had a soloist, and the reason we’ll have a violin soloist for our next concert, is the UR campus holds a concerto competition every year, and the winners get to play with the Symphony Orchestra.

Did you particularly enjoy any of the pieces you played?

We played “Prelude and Isolde’s Love-Death” from “Tristan and Isolde” by Wagner, Saint-Saëns’ “Second Concerto,” and “Tableaux d’une exposition” by Moussorgski.  All of them were really great.  “Tableaux” was particularly noteworthy because it had such a stark contrast between bright, uplifting, major chords and dark, dissonant, menacing parts. This was because it was broken up into different sections.  One song that I particularly loved is “Baba Yaga,” which is a Russian myth about a witch who has chicken legs and eats children’s heads.  That was pretty cool to play.

Who conducts the ensemble? 

Dr. Harman is a professor at Eastman.  I believe he conducts one of their orchestras as well, and he also conducts the UR Chamber Orchestra here on the River Campus. He’s very nice and always tries to push the orchestra to play its best, which any conductor would do, except I think his methods are very effective.  He’s very understanding about absences and just being able to play the piece in general.  He tends to not pick pieces that are going to be too difficult for us but chooses ones that show enough difficulty to challenge us and help us grow as players.

Will you continue to play  until you graduate?

I’ll continue to play as long as my class schedule isn’t too hectic and I’m not taking too many credits.

Do you have hopes to play after you graduate?

I will probably join a community orchestra.  I like playing in the pit for musicals, so I will probably look into community musical theater or anything like that that doesn’t take  professional players.  I would’ve probably joined the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra eventually, except there isn’t one anymore because they went bankrupt, and that is sad. They have a youth orchestra, but that’s mainly for kids and junior high to high school students. But this summer,  I’m joining the Syracuse Summer Orchestra, which will have two to three weeks of practice and a concert at the end.  It’s a replacement for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra since we don’t have one anymore.

Jeng is a member of the class of 2016.

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