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USU students featured in concerto evening

February 28th, 2015 Posted in Arts and Life

Fifty-eight students sat positioned with string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments at the ready. Carly Ewell entered, saluted the audience and then turned to her harp. Sergio Bernal raised his baton.

What came next had the audience at the Kent Concert Hall applauding even after Ewell left the stage.

Ewell was one of five musicians featured on Wednesday as the Utah State University Symphony Orchestra presented a “Concerto Evening,” featuring the winners of a competitive concerto competition held in December.

“This particular kind of music has the challenge that the orchestra needs to follow the soloist,” said Bernal, the orchestra’s conductor. “The soloist needs to be sensitive to the sound of the orchestra. It becomes a kind of collaboration.”

Is was the first time that some of the musicians had performed in a concerto, a solo with an accompanying orchestra.

“I think it’s a really cool experience for us pianists because generally the piano is kind of known as a solo instrument,” said pianist Josh Musselman. “To have the opportunity to play with other instruments and experience all of that behind your playing is a pretty awesome experience.”

At the time of the December competition, most of the artists had already been practicing their pieces for more than a year. During the contest, the performers were judged by a jury that consisted of music professors from winds, brass, percussion, strings, piano, voice and music theory departments.

“I am humbled by the quality of playing by the soloists,” Bernal said. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s an experience that makes them improve as well as helps their credentials for the future.”

Flutist Karalyn Lewis said she has gained experience and confidence as she has prepared for her flute solo.

“It really shows me what I can do,” Lewis said. “I can push myself so hard and then I can look back and say, ‘oh, my goodness, look what I’ve accomplished.’”

“You could truly tell that the soloist had a passion for their instrument,” said Shelby Dunn, a juniorat Utah State. “I would look at the soloist and they seemed oblivious of the world around them. They weren’t performing they were just playing for the sake of playing beautiful music.”

“You could truly tell that the soloist had a passion for their instrument,” said Shelby Dunn, a junior  at Utah State. “I would look at the soloist and they seemed oblivious of the world around them. They weren’t performing they were just playing for the sake of playing beautiful music.”

Both the soloists and the performers in the orchestra showed a deep love and appreciation for classical music, Dunn said.

“I really just hope that people come away inspired by music that I love and that I can’t get enough of,” Musselman said. “I hope that they come away with a newfound appreciation for live classical music. It’s an art that I’m afraid is fading and it’s close to my heart.”

Kayla Swenson, Conner Rumsey, Andrew Chen, Aubri Liechty and Sawyer Hemsley contributed to this report.

-mdl

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