The Gustavian Weekly

Orchestra Concert features Competition Winner | The Gustavian Weekly

By Elsa Beise - Staff Writer | March 23, 2018 | Variety

The Symphony Orchestra concert features high school pianist Kirill Nazarov on Grieg’s Concerto.

The Symphony Orchestra concert features high school pianist Kirill Nazarov on Grieg’s Concerto.

This spring concert will showcase many talents and skills of Gustavus musicians and faculty and staff members.

It is a chance for the musicians to present what they have been working on throughout this academic school year.

The concert will also feature a high school student who has won a competition intended to help introduce young musicians to the collegiate music scene.

Conducting the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Justin Knoepfel has high praise for this concert.

“[The concert is] featuring the winner of the second annual Concerto/Aria Competition for High Schoolers,” Knoepfel said.

The winner is student Kirill Nazarov. “[He is] a sophomore pianist from Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in Owatonna [Minnesota]. He is fantastic.”

This concert offers a wide range of composers and pieces, offering a selection for a variety of audience members and a riveting entrance for the new season.

“This concert is a wonderful blend of Finnish, French and Swedish composing giants. Not too often do you get to hear Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D minor and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius in the same program.

“It’ll be a wonderful way to kick off the arrival of spring,” Knoepfel said.

Student musicians are excited to showcase their talents and returning members of the orchestra are eager to return to the hall they know and love.

“As a Senior, I have performed numerous times in Bjorling Recital Hall. The pieces [we are] playing are fun and enjoyable to listen to,” Morgan Evenson, percussionist, said.

Evenson is looking forward to the incredible pieces played by Nazarov, the high school pianist.

“This concert is unique in that it features an outstanding high school pianist…[he is playing] Grieg’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor.

“Being able to execute this piece is quite impressive coming from a high school sophomore,” Evenson said.

Senior violin player Olivia Niles promises, “the audience will get a chance to hear the crowd pleasers. We will also do one lesser known piece that has some really interesting moments and ridiculously catchy themes, it’s Symphony in D minor by Franck”.

Participants in the show are just as intent on listening to the pieces they are not playing in just as much as they are eager to perform.

“Besides playing, my favorite part of the concert is listening. I love being able to close my eyes, just listen, and feel the music,” Evenson said.

It’s a rewarding feeling for the participants in the performance to be able to hear the final product of everything they have been working on.

Knoepfel is especially excited for his brass players, who often don’t get to have the limelight in a lot of pieces, in these specific selections.

“This program is a brass player’s dream, especially on the Sibelius. The rest of the orchestra has plenty to do as well,” Knoepfel said.

Niles echoed this sentiment about the brass players getting a chance to show off their talent.

“The beginning of Sibelius has a massive brass and timpani part. It’s so fun to hear them show off a little and it never happens enough,” Niles said.

Knoepfel is looking forward to the performance so that he can share his pride for the Gustavus students who have put in tireless efforts rehearsing and perfecting these pieces.

“[My favorite part is] the opportunity to work with these fine students. They work hard and have fun. We’re delighted to share this program with the Gustavus community,” Knoepfel said.

The students are equally as excited to showcase their peers’ hardwork and skills after rehearsing and working with each other throughout the academic year.

“The symphony Orchestra has a lot of talented musicians and this is a wonderful moment to share with the school some really fun pieces,” Niles said.

At 1:30p.m. on Sunday March 25, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra will perform their Spring concert in the Bjorling Recital Hall.

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