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A Night in Hertz Hall: Jammin’ With the University Symphony Orchestra

Posted By Patrici Flores On Dec 8, 2007 @ 10:43 pm In Arts | Comments Disabled

It seems that few Berkeley students take advantage of the campus arts scene, despite the plethora of Cal ID discounts available. We know, we know. You’re too busy studying, watching Cal lose, or perhaps you think protesting is more appropriate than indulging in the privilege of First World entertainment. Whatever your reason is, let it go and run to Hertz Hall–the University Symphony Orchestra is waiting!

The Clog, classy as we are, spent Friday night chilling in plush yellow seats for the University Symphony Orchestra’s last performance of the semester. The orchestra is the oldest performance ensemble at the University of California, auditions are cutthroat (according to a music department insider) and symphony-goers give it some pretty heavy compliments, according to their Facebook group:

Bold programming and high artistic standards have made this one of the country’s finest university orchestras. Not only a pre-professional training orchestra, but a major performing ensemble in the Bay Area as well.

Not too shabby. The Clog won’t disagree with those sentiments.

Now, we won’t pretend to be arts reviewers and use words like “overtones,” “bravura” and fancy metaphors to describe the concert. However, we will say that the performances were “enjoyable” and “impressive.” Conducted by David Milnes, the show started off amorously with Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan”, op. 20–a musically romantic piece that follows the exploits of the famous namesake. We felt the love in the liberal amounts of harp, triangle and head-bobbing flute players.

Our favorite piece of the night came second–a simulated film score recording session for “The Flyer” Suite, by music department lecturer and contemporary composer Yiorgos Vassilandonakis. The lights dimmed. The projector lit up to play a short film of the same name by UC Berkeley alumnus David Green. The combination of the visual work with the live orchestration was quite an immersing experience.

We were nodding off a bit by the time the final portion of the program took off, but we’ll blame it on our previous all-nighters. Still, there’s no doubt that the four movements of Symphony No. 4, “Romantic”–composed by Nazi favorite, Anton Bruckner–seemed like they were on a never ending loop.

By the end, there were more than few standing ovations.

Bravo, University Symphony Orchestra.

If you missed the symphony, don’t you fret. Deck the halls with another campus favorite–the UC Choral Ensemble will have its Holiday concert on Monday, Dec. 8 in Hertz Hall. It’s $6 with your Cal ID.

Image Source: Patrici Flores
University Symphony Orchestra [Website]

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