Lively and Timeless, Symphony Orchestra presents: “Dancing Through the Centuries”
By Jack Kane, Contributing Writer
On Friday evening, the Sunderman Conservatory’s Symphony Orchestra performed in the Majestic Theater. Conducted by Adjunct Director of Orchestral Activities Scott Kaliszak, the theme of the program was “Dancing Through the Centuries,” consisting of movements and dances of varying styles from composers such as Bartok and Holst to Mozart and Prima. The ensemble consisted exclusively of string instruments, providing a vivid and energized timbre in the concert hall.
Regarding the theme of the program, Kaliszak explained, “I wanted to find string music that we could feature all of our students here, and just ensure that we could have a concert that showcases string music from throughout time. And so this theme kind of fell together, where most of our music had to do with dancing.”
The concert opened with the “Capriol Suite” by Peter Warlock. Composed of six movements and sections, the piece demonstrated a large variety of techniques and motion. The movements included “Basse Dance,” “Pavane,” “Tordion,” “Bransles,” “Pieds-en-l’air,” and “Mattachins (Sword Dance).”
The following piece was a three movement composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, named “Divertimento in D, K. 136.” The piece provided a speedy 1st movement in Allegro, with a walking pace Andante as a contrasting 2nd movement, before returning with an even faster Presto to mark the 3rd and final movement.
“Romanian Folk Dances,” compiled by Béla Bartók in 1915, is a collection of six folk songs/dances. It’s movements include “Bot tánc / Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance),” “Brâul (Sash Dance),” “Topogó / Pe loc (In One Spot),” “Bucsumí tánc / Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum),” “Román polka / Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka),” and “Aprózó / Mărunțel (Fast Dance).”
The fourth piece of the program was the three-movement “St. Paul Suite” by Gustav Holst. Well known for his orchestral suite “The Planets,” Holst named this piece after St. Paul’s Girls’ School located in Hammersmith, London. It was during this time when Holst was the school’s “music master,” creating music for students to practice and perform.
The final piece of the night was an arrangement by Marshall and Phillips of Louis Prima’s “Sing Sing Sing.” Composed in 1936, the song has its origins in big band and swing musical styles, providing a more unique closing to the previous works performed in the program.
Despite being composed of mostly string instruments for their first concert of the semester, the Symphony Orchestra plans to include more instrumental groups for the next concert.
“Honestly, having the full orchestra back is going to be really exciting. And we’re playing some really awesome music. We’re playing some music from Star Wars, some Beethoven and more,” said student violist Micah Smith ’25.
Taking the place of previous conductor Dr. César Leal, Kaliszak is bringing his own style to the orchestra. The semester is leading up to be an enthusiastic and productive one, with many student performers looking forward to working with Kaliszak.
“I’m really excited to have Mr. Kaliszak as a conductor and see what it’s like to have a different conductor in the symphony orchestra,” said student piccolo performer Juno Braten ’25.
There are many more events scheduled for the rest of the semester, with the next Symphony Orchestra concert taking place in the Majestic Theater on April 14.
March 3, 2023
This was a wonderful evening. Thank you to all of the students and to Mr. Kaliszak!