Nearly 20 music students from Maranatha recently attended a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Wiesenberg. The convenient location of Maranatha in Watertown allows students to attend world-class performances in both Milwaukee and Chicago on a regular basis. It’s a key advantage for MBU’s music program to have, since live concerts are a significant source of inspiration and motivation for musicians.
Music department chair Dr. David Ledgerwood reflects, “The entire program was a rich tapestry of musical expression, from Gluzman’s virtuosic rendering of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto and his exquisite presentation of a Bach Sarabande, to the orchestra’s wonderful interpretation of Weisenberg’s Jerusalem. The conductor’s explanation of Symphony #12 by Shostakovich helped the audience consider the conflicted nature of the composer’s existence, and how this might have affected his composition.”
The concert was especially intriguing to string majors, with one of the highlights being Vadim Gluzman’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35. Tchaikovsky dedicated the concerto to Hungarian violinist Leopold Auer, who responded by terming the work “unplayable” due to its technical challenges. Yet Gluzman rose to the challenge and gave a stellar performance. Senior violin performance and pedagogy major Justine Ostrander remarks, “The soloist’s technical skill was stunning. He completed extremely difficult passages flawlessly, and his tempo during the last movement was a musical thrill from beginning to end. Attending the concert not only inspired me, but also rekindled my drive for excellence.”
Conducting students also gained valuable knowledge by watching associate conductor Yaniv Dinur. The students universally noted Dinur’s skillful technique, incredible artistry, and unwavering confidence throughout the entire concert. Perhaps most amazing to conducting students was that he conducted the entire 40-minute Shostakovich symphony from memory.
Lewis Rosove, former assistant principal violist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years and current assistant professor at Maranatha, is excited for the future of MSO: “During the tenure of music director Edo de Waart a substantial part of the orchestra was hired, and several critical positions (principal flute, principal oboe, principal bassoon, principal cello, principal bass) were filled during that time. The results are bearing fruit, as many of the wind principals had extended solos that were beautifully done. The opportunity to hear this level of playing is one that should be taken advantage of by music students at MBU.”
Freshman string pedagogy major Megan Edwards agrees: “The performance was excellent, and the soloist was amazing! It was an incredible opportunity to enjoy quality music at an affordable price for college students.”