Orchestra Delivers Radiant Performance at Fall Concert, an Evening of Diverse Music

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  • Turning to give a cue, Associate Director Mr. Justin Anderson aids the cello section of the Philharmonic 4th Block Orchestra in making a defined entrance during their performance of ‘Mourão.’ Written by Brazilian composer César Guerra-Peixe, the piece features a lively central theme alongside isolated figures that highlight different instruments.

  • Symphony Orchestra violinists Alex Kim ’23 and Gloria Wu ’24 balance their sound across the ensemble by paying close attention to the leading quartet voices. Performing ‘Introduction and Allegro’ by Edward Elgar, the orchestra also prepared two other works from prominent European composers.

  • Philharmonic 2nd Block Orchestra concertmaster Casey Davey ’23 makes full use of her bow to produce a fuller sound. Davey and three other violinists were given a solo part during ‘Ahrirang,’ a traditional Korean folk song.

  • Adding a vibrant timbre, harpist Izzy Valenzuela ’24 performs alongside the Philharmonic 2nd Block Orchestra. Valenzuela played both the violin and harp during the concert.

  • Principal cellist Summer Jogee ’24 rises to face the audience following Concert Orchestra’s performance. Jogee led her section by ensuring rhythmic and technical accuracy.

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Showcasing a diverse program curated to present a variety of musical textures, orchestra students performed ‘Music Around the World’ at their first Fall Concert on Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Raymond Hartfield Performing Arts Center (PAC). 

Camerata Orchestra was the first to take the stage with Zira! Zira! an Ethiopian folk song featuring lively rhythmic variations. Arranged by Leanne Darling, themes of Isma’a, a traditional Arabic song, reverberated elegantly across  listeners of the Concert Orchestra. 

“It’s fun to watch the musicians grow because you have so many freshmen coming in, and moving up the ensembles,” Associate Orchestra Director Mr. Justin Anderson said. “Getting to see their growth throughout the concert cycle is awesome over the nine weeks. In class, we are always working on technique and ways to improve, and we use every concert as a stepping stone to the next concert.” 

Precise articulation in the violin section emulated the tonal vibrancy of wind instruments, for which Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy was originally composed for. Revered in concert band literature, the Philharmonic 2nd Block Orchestra preserved key elements of instrumentation within three movements, evident in the lilting dance melodies and ornate exchanges between sections. In Mourão, by César Guerra-Peixe, technical proficiencies as exhibited by students of the Philharmonic 4th Block Orchestra accentuated driving lines. 

“The music itself requires preparation, but everyone in the orchestra needs to play a specific role in ensuring the individual parts can come together,” Philharmonic second block student Casey Davey ‘23 said. “Each piece is unique and asks me to perform the role of concertmaster differently. Because concertmaster is a position of leadership, I needed to make more conscious decisions about how my playing was affecting everyone in the ensemble.” 

Concluding the evening, Symphony Orchestra performed Introduction and Allegro by Edward Elgar. A solo quartet featured seniors Noah Kim, Hyunjae Lee, Suhaas Patil, and Haekyu Yang, whose voices were accompanied by the rest of the string orchestra in a lush, multi-layered presentation of lyrical motifs. Additional highlights to their program included Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa, characterized by folk-reminiscent figures that crafted evocative imagery of mountainous southern Poland. 

“I felt proud that all our hard work was able to be shown and performed,” Natalie Ju ‘26 said. “Westwood Symphony Orchestra is a really big difference from Grisham Orchestra.  Since all three pieces were so different from each other, I was able to really get a taste of the beauty of orchestral music.” 

In conjunction with goals set for each concert cycle, orchestra students take part in meaningful reflection on learning opportunities that arise following performances. Such intentionally collaborative approaches are employed alongside rehearsal and class-time procedures, which will begin again this week.